Blogs & Utterings

Oh Look — Another Learning Opportunity!

On Saturday, October 9, 2021, the Global Water Alliance in alliance with Thomas Jefferson University will convene its virtual 14th Annual Conference entitled, "Securing the Green to Make it Clean: Funding for Sustainable Sanitation." The conference—the theme of which...

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Water-Borne Disease Highlight: Schistosoma

by Thomas McKeon We all know how mosquitos cause more harm to humans than any other animal on earth. Nearly 1 million people die from mosquito-borne diseases a year and many more are injured from diseases like Zika virus, West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, dengue,...

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Restoring Our Water Ecosystems

By Ewoma E. Okah-Avae  As a species, we can’t overemphasize the importance of water. Oceans, rivers, lakes and streams make up the water ecosystem on the earth’s surface.  Without water, human, aquatic, animal and plant life will become extinct. But when these natural...

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Happy World Oceans Day!

[Sunset Beach, Cape May, NJ] Today is World Oceans Day! Like humans who are about 70% water, oceans cover 70% of the earth. In all likelihood, life emerged from the primordial soup, from the oceans to the swamps, bogs, marshes and wetlands, first as single-celled...

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Water Literacy 5 — at the Community Level

[graphics - Arianna Rich] by Dr. Christiaan Morssink Water literacy at the community level is much more than measuring, assessing and improving the literacy of a multitude of households that together make up a community. Even if each household has it’s own water...

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Initiative Dakar 2022

Initiative Dakar 2022 We at GWA are pleased to announce that Dr. Arun Deb’s arsenic removal project in West Bengal, India has been chosen as a “flagship” project to be showcased at the World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal. Known as Initiative Dakar 2022, something new...

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Making Maps: Reflections on Cameroon

[Six weeks of walking, but never a walk in the park] Project: Water Supply Problems in Nine Villages in the Bome-Ngyenmbo region, North Western Province, Cameroon Period: 2007-2014 Collaborations: In Cameroon: Mayor’s Office in Mbengwi, Meta Quality of Life...

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The State of the Earth – 2021

  photo of the original magazine   April 22 — Earth Day.  I was leafing through an oversized magazine a friend gave me when she retired entitled, Earth Week ’70, published in 1970 as the Official Publication of the Philadelphia Earth Week Committee.  At only 48-pages...

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Revenge of the Fatberg

Revenge of the Fatberg

Keep Fats, Oils and Grease in the Trash Where They Belong Keep water FOG-free In February 2021, a brewing toxic mess of waste comprised of such culprits as wet wipes, diapers, sanitary pads, cotton swabs and other detritus fused with fats, oils and grease from...

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Toilets, Latrines, and Everything in Between

by Corinna Wang [public toilet at Bryant Park in NYC © pam lazos] Most conversations around bodily functions can be uncomfortably embarrassing discussions, especially those concerning use of the bathroom. Everyone has a bathroom ritual they deem necessary, one that...

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We Are Water Protectors

Stories and prophecies surrounding Mother Earth and Father Sky are abundant in indigenous folklore where Indigenous People have long protected the earth from those who would seek to abuse her resources. That’s why it is so wonderful to see that storytelling tradition...

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Pass the PVA, Please

the infamous tide pod © pam lazos When the kids were little I think I did a hundred loads of laundry a week.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I easily did a few loads every couple days, depending on their activity levels.  At that time, I was a big fan of the large...

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Here, There, and Everywhere

The Problem with Microplastics in Water and What Women Scientists are Doing to Solve It photo credit: wH2O Journal Read all about it in wH2O, The Journal of Gender and Water, Volume 8 (2021) right here: https://repository.upenn.edu/wh2ojournal/vol8/iss1/9/ Pam Lazos...

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Stunted Children from Stunted Mothers

And the Need for Improved Maternal Water Literacy. by Dr. Christiaan Morssink  stunted on the vine © pam lazos In the late nineties, the World Health Organization undertook a major international study to create a growth chart for children 0-5yrs....

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Water Literacy – 4

Measuring, Testing, and Educating at the Household Level by Dr. Christiaan Morssink © pam lazos The household is an important data point in the world of WASH -- water, sanitation and hygiene -- on many levels. In the home of my youth, the WC -- the water closet -- was...

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Water Literacy – 3

by Christiaan Morssink Definition: Water literacy is the scaffolding that empowers individuals, households, communities, nations, and regions to protect and utilize water resources and water quality through ecologically adapted change and strengthen water resilience...

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Water Literacy – 2

Constructing a Paradigm: Who Should Know What, Where, How and Why? by Dr. Christiaan Morssink Rockman in frozen water © pam lazos I watched in horror as the young French woman was transported by dug-out canoe (with outboard engine) across the river to the hospital on...

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Spotlight on Dr. Arun Deb

Founding Member, Global Water Alliance Those of us privileged to work with Dr. Arun Deb know he does his job with a quiet grace and determination and now the world, at least our Philadelphia portion of it, is finding out, too. Congratulations to Dr. Deb on the...

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Toilet: A Love Story

https://youtu.be/l3hdA3ZG5RM As comedies go... ... the lowly toilet has long been the brunt of many a comedic trope, potty humor being the universal go-to language when you need a sure thing.  We laugh at bathroom humor the same way we laugh when someone unexpectedly...

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The Case for Water Literacy

Toilet Cleaning is as Important as Toilet Building by Christiaan Morssink Tools of the trade Toilet cleaning and preventive maintenance are missing in almost all project proposals for WASH -- water, sanitation and hygiene -- in Schools or WASH in Health Care that I...

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The Case for Water Literacy

by Christiaan Morssink The Schuylkill River at Market Street It's a new year so time to roll up our sleeves and talk about the big topics like water literacy. Did you know the average flow rate of the Delaware river is 11,700 cu ft/s (cubic feet per second) at...

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In Memoriam

Ed Grusheski 1946-2020 by Chrisitaan Morssink Ever-smiling Ed Our founding board member and treasurer Ed Grusheski left the stage on December 22, 2020. We lost a great friend, most gentle colleague and socially engaging professional who inspired many. Before losing...

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EPA Turns 50!

An Interview with Former Deputy Regional Administrator and GWA Founder, Stan Laskowski EPA logo for the 50th Anniversary On December 2, 2020, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) turned 50.  GWA founder and current board member, Stan Laskowski...

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Water, Bugs, and Your Health!

Stonefly found during stream assessment at Climbers Run Nature Preserve, Pequea, PA At GWA, we support access to clean water for all people, but clean water isn't just about turning on the tap. Clean water begins at the water's edge, caring for water at the source at...

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More thoughts on World Toilet Day

by Christiaan Morssink a crappy photo of a crappy toilet I have seen it too often, in too many places. Toilets in disrepair. Toilets that were installed to improve the hygiene of the household, the village, the school, the railway station. Paid for by the customer, or...

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World Toilet Day – Nov 19th

The Throne Bathroom Loo Water closet, or WC Outhouse El baño Stall Porta-potty Latrine or pit latrine The Throne Whatever you want to call it, access to improved sanitation is a right due to all people. If you live in a place where having a toilet in your home is a...

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“Special Toilets” for Guatemala

A World Toilet Day Tale by Tony Sauder Handicap Accessible Bathrooms for Health Clinics in Cipresales and Panahachel, Guatemala The Global Water Alliance is proud to be supporting Acción Contra el Hambre (ACH) -- Action Against Hunger -- a Spanish NGO, working on WASH...

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Unsung Heroes of WASH

Press release from NYEWASCO, Nyeri, Kenya On November 12, 2020, Global Water Intelligence (GWI) reported the death of Peter Gichaaga, the General Manager of Nyewasco, one of Africa's most successful water utilities, a success roundly attributed to Gichaaga's...

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Shocked? You Should Be!

President Morssink, upon hearing the news... Of the 7.6 billion people that comprise the world's population, 74% -- a lucky 5.5 billion of us have basic sanitation or better, but an unlucky 2 billion of us still don't have even basic sanitation. Of those, 673 million...

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World Toilet Day and the East Kolkata Wetlands

And why working with nature is always best... inundated wetlands Before we talk about the East Kolkata Wetlands, let’s establish what wetlands are and why we should care about them. While the regulatory definition of a wetland is complicated, the average person...

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Blue Moon

[photo courtesty of NASA] Maybe the Man in the Moon has never been thirsty, but if he were, things are about to get better for him.  According to NASA, there is water, not only on the dark side of the moon, but on the sunny side, too.  Not much, still about...

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Water and Peace

by Mallory Rappaport Philadelphia at 30th St. Station along the Schulykill River Global Water Alliance conference on Water & Peace emphasizes need for collaborative and sustainable water management On September 24, 2020, the Global Water Alliance (GWA) hosted its...

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Hand Hygiene for ALL

by Christiaan Morssink In frustration, I am shaking my fist at the SARS-COV-2 and at a much too large bunch of dysfunctional politicians on this planet earth. But what good is shaking a fist if you cannot make it into an uppercut. SARS-COV-2 doesn’t care, and those...

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Janjay

So many of our GWA partners are writers, educators, academics, and leaders in their fields in addition to being Water Warriors. Chantal Victoria Bright is all of these. A first generation Liberian-American, she knows the woes associated with a lack of access to clean...

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Con-Census or Peace?

Philadelphia skyline - © pam lazos I saw a cartoon the other day.  A man and a woman hold hands at the water’s edge, an old gnarled tree to the right of them, while off in the distance is a small silhouette of another person standing on a bluff, the only other human...

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Water as a tool of oppression

Written by Kate French We all agree and understand that water is intrinsic to human existence and without it, life on earth will become extinct.  Simply put: water is life.  Less understood is that water has also been used a tool of oppression.  In the...

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Water Security Begets Food Security

Written by Christiaan Morssink. Reflections on the United Nations Sustainable Gastronomy Day, June 18 I grew up with the ritual of growing food in the backyard and on a small plot of land that my father, like so many others, “rented” from the railroad company. All in...

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Plastic-Free Life Redux

Single-use plastic in the kitchen Some months later… Plastic-Free Life Redux I am happy to report that I received a response to my plastics letter. Before I tell you what happened, let me relay a completely unnerving statistic that I read the other day, that is, only...

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Plastic-Free​ Life

A Story of Independence I think I'm just one of those people that needs a mission.  A few months ago, I decided that if I'm ever going to even approach a Zero Waste Life, I need to find ways to buy things with less built-in waste.  The problem with that is I don't...

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Be Like Water

by Pam Lazos When I was born, I shared the water on this planet with just over 3 billion people.  Today, I’m sharing it with 7.7 billion and growing at a rate of 85 million people per year, and it’s safe to say that no matter what year, each and every one of...

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When Fish Poop Feeds the World

by P. J. Lazos If you or your kids have ever won a goldfish at a carnival, chances are you took it home and stuck it in a glass bowl where it swam happily for years.  We had one live for six years until the little rascal finally called it quits.  Soon after we brought...

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Book Review: Thirst

THIRST: A Story of Redemption, Compassion, and a Mission to Bring Clean Water to the World by Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of Charity: Water Publ: Currency, 2018, 336 pg. A Review by Stan Laskowski, co-Founder, Global Water Alliance This book is inspirational! I...

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Water Investigators: Dominican Republic

They asked us to go to the Dominican Republic, so we did. A travel report about our scoping exercise; facts, impressions, reflections. By Tom McKeon, Erica DePalma, Michelle Barakat, and Liz Pyshnik   We are four young professionals who are passionate about...

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Sponge Cities

By P. J. Lazos    As I made my way into work the other day, an announcement on the radio alerted me to a flood warning that would be in effect until later that evening.  It had rained the day before, and the day before that, the rivers, brown and agitated, running...

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Plastic Free July

   As the forefathers wrote in the Declaration of Independence, the unalienable rights endowed to men (and women) of this country are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Fast forward 242 years and we are seriously messing with those rights as we clamor for a...

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I Just Want to Say One Word to You!

Are you listening? “Yes, Sir”               You’re on a beach. It’s hot. You’re thirsty and you pull a handy plastic bottle from your cooler, take a big swig. You know better than to try the water from the lake, and surely not the ocean ..It’s happy hour time;...

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A Global Man

            To me, Leonardo da Vinci is the greatest example of a Renaissance Man, a polymath with expertise in a wide variety of subject matter; a humanist (a person who values human beings and the autonomous, free-thinking self), supportive of critical thinking; and...

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Look Really Close: Bugs and Environmental Health

By Tom McKeon Benthic macroinvertebrates (macros) are spineless bugs, visible to the naked eye. They are often the nymph and larvae forms of many familiar creatures buzzing and crawling around you every day. Creatures like adult dragonflies, mosquitoes, crane flies,...

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When Chemicals Collide

by P.J. Lazos   It’s a tenet of the modern age that if you are alive and thriving on our planet, walking around in a “meat suit” — to steal a term from the TV show, “Supernatural” — you are likely composed of a cornucopia of pharmaceuticals, some of which you ingested...

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A Drop of Life

by P.J. Lazos The woman behind the podium said: “Who controls water controls life.”   At the International House on Chestnut Street near the University of Penn's campus in Philadelphia, we had just watched a short film, part documentary, part drama, “A Drop of...

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Wait, Before You Flush

by P.J. Lazos             When our kids were growing up, the rule was no potty talk at the table. Of course, that just emphasized their need to tell fart jokes, their favorite topic, and then laugh hysterically. Now, in a strange twist of events, I talk about poop and...

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World Water Day 10-Gallon Challenge

Reposted from Green Life Blue Water March 22, 2017 was World Water Day.  The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 Global Goals designed to end poverty, provide a quality education, provide affordable and clean energy, and create sustainable cities...

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Your Assimilative Capacity Has Been Reached!

Let's Talk Water: A Series of Blogs by P.J. Lazos Given the recent rains in California, resulting in the evacuation of some 100,000 people due to concerns over stability of Oroville Dam, you would think California’s drought problems are over, but you’re wrong. While...

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Modeling

Photo credit: Nafissatou Ba & Manisha Ayut Modeling by P.J. Lazos              On January 16, 2017, Dr. Christiaan Morssink, Treasurer and Board Member at the Global Water Alliance (GWA) celebrated MLK Day by modeling. No, he didn’t walk down a runway in the...

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World Toilet Day

Let's Talk Water: A Series of Blogs by P.J. Lazos   I think that if Francois Auguste Rene Rodin (1840 - 1917) knew that one of his most famous sculptures, “The Thinker” had become the symbol of World Toilet Day, http://www.worldtoiletday.info/, a day established...

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Thirsty Burger, or Playing with Numbers

Let's Talk Water: A Series of Blogs by P. J. Lazos Consider the cow. It takes one gallon — 3.6 liters — per 100 pounds of body weight to water a cow and two gallons when it is hot outside. If Bessy is lactating, you need to double those numbers. However, that...

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Really?

Swimming In Urban Streams After It Rains Exposes You To Fecal Matter?By Tom McKeonSwimming can be a fun and refreshing activity on a hot summer day. It’s easy to hear sounds of joy around swimming holes and hard to forget the relaxing shared experiences; the idea...

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WATER WARS

Let's Talk Water : A series of blogs by P. J. LazosHow’s this? In the future we will fight wars for water. Sound plausible or more like SciFi? Probably no one really thought we’d fight a war for oil, but then Iraq happened and that strange concept became part of our...

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ARE YOU SECURE, WATER SECURE? 

Let's Talk Water : A series of blogs by P. J. Lazos Water is cleansing. Water is ubiquitous, yet scarce. You can only live four days without water. You need water. Your neighbor needs water. Water beats rock. Water security is defined as the capacity of a population...

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