WEF's membership newsletter covers current Federation activities, Member Association news, and items of concern to the water quality field. WEF Highlights is your source for the most up-to-the-minute WEF news and member information.

June 2009, Vol. 46, No. 5

Top Story

Simple, Local Means to Cleaner Water

/assets/0/86/108/668/773/774/18935/b2313a95-b599-4945-a4d2-f9beee3e5e8b.jpg For most Highlights readers, clean, safe drinking water is as convenient as the turn of a faucet. But in most of the world, this is not the case. Even in some areas where water distribution systems exist, the water contains disease-causing bacteria and microorganisms. However, several researchers and organizations are working to develop simple and effective water filters that can be produced and maintained locally in communities worldwide.

Porous Clay Pots
One such device looks more like something you’d plant a flower in than use to produce clean drinking water. A simple, porous clay pot placed in a 19-L (5-gal) plastic bucket with a spigot has the potential to save millions of lives each year, according to Vinka Craver, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Rhode Island (URI; Kingston).
Photo courtesy of Vinka Craver, assistant professor, University of Rhode Island (Kingston). Click for larger image. 

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Making a Difference

  /assets/0/86/108/668/773/774/18935/387598f5-64e7-46ec-80d6-dbeefa122af1.jpgWater Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) employees’ commitment to the environment is apparent in their work and daily routines. But one employee has taken this dedication to the next level.

Jessica Rozek, Production assistant at WEF, has been working throughout the year with a volunteer organization to improve the education and environmental knowledge of children in a vocational school in Mandalay, Burma.

Rozek first traveled to the school during the winter of 2007. She participated in a workshop to help teachers learn new techniques for teaching large classes that have a wide range of age and education levels.
Jessica Rozek (second from right) stands in front of a compost pile she helped build at a school in Burma. Photo courtesy of Rozek. Click for larger image.

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From the President: Spring Provides the Opportunity To Engage the Public in Watershed Protection

As we enjoy the excitement and rebirth of spring, we should take this time to engage the public in watershed protection. As water professionals, we know the challenges of nonpoint source pollution and the need for urban communities to minimize their impacts on local watersheds. We also know that the best way to educate is by engaging people in an activity or exercise that connects to them personally.

As we engage the public in watershed protection, we need to better communicate and demonstrate how even one person’s actions can affect the watershed. For example, according to the 2007 AVMA U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, published by the American Veterinary Medical Association (Schaumburg, Ill.), approximately 75% of U.S. households own pets. Since a majority of pet waste is disposed of directly to the environment, consider how much of it finds its way into watersheds.
Rebecca West, 2008–2009 WEF President.

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