The Water Experts Program (WeP), a cooperative program between USWP and the U.S. Department of State, identifies and deploys American water experts to high-priority countries to help improve water security by providing expert advice to key host-country stakeholders through meetings, workshops, briefings, and assessments. Water Experts cover a wide range of issues, such as water and climate security, transboundary water cooperation, sanitation, water quality and efficiency, integrated management of surface and ground water, grey and green water infrastructure, and the water-energy-food nexus. Water Experts have engaged locally in such topics across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.
Examples of Water Experts' Work:
Improving Drought Resiliency in Morocco
In September 2017, a Texas-based hydrologist conducted a week-long exchange with the Moroccan national water utility on water resources planning, climate change impacts, aquifer storage and reuse, and water conservation. The expert presented recent developments in brackish groundwater desalination in Texas and highlighted the need for more basin-specific information that can be built into long-range water supply plans. He outlined steps to counter climate change-related vulnerabilities, including developing hydrologic predictions for the most vulnerable basins and designing drought contingency plans using guidelines from the Bureau of Reclamation, including identifying local drought monitoring stations and drought stage triggers.
Engaging U.S. Foreign Service Officers on Building Water Security in the Southern Africa Region
In October 2016, three experts in climate change adaptation, hydropower, and groundwater management briefed U.S. Foreign Service Officers from countries across the Southern Africa Region during a workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa. Approximately 40 million people are dealing with the impacts of one of the worst regional droughts in 35 years. The goal is to help build capacity of local stakeholders to manage water resources more effectively and to increase the understanding of U.S. embassy staff around water challenges and potential solutions.
Critical Training on Sustainable Wastewater Management for Municipalities in Ethiopia
In August 2016 a wastewater expert from San Diego State University led a workshop on sustainable wastewater management technologies in Adama, Ethiopia. This five-day workshop supported Ethiopian municipal authorities in better understanding suitable and sustainable wastewater treatment technologies from science, technology, and financial angles. It also increased the capacity of local water managers to confront ongoing wastewater management challenges. Over forty-seven Ethiopian water and wastewater experts and practitioners representing ten of the eleven regional states attended the workshop and expressed their excitement over what they had learned.
Managing Transboundary Waters in Lake Titicaca
In April 2016 WEP selected an expert from The Nature Conservancy to share lessons learned from the U.S.-Mexico experience managing transboundary waters with Peruvian environment and water authorities. This visit provided technical guidance to national and subnational authorities working to restore Lake Titicaca, a critical binational body of water under severe pressure from untreated wastewater and heavy metals from illegal mining. During meetings and site visits in Lima and Puno, the expert offered recommendations and options for groundwater monitoring and offered best practices for aligning research and policy. The visit helped the U.S. government deepen its engagement with Peru on water quality issues, building on a 2014 joint U.S.-Canada mission focused on the sustainable management of binational lakes.
Engaging Policymakers and Stakeholders in the Sava River Basin
In February 2016 a expert from the University of Nebraska offered expertise on stakeholder engagement at the inaugural meeting of the Sava Water Council, which includes the four countries of the Sava River basin (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia). WEP facilitated an extremely useful exercise on balancing interests among user groups that highlighted the need for equitable resource sharing among stakeholders. Officials discussed how to operationalize the commission structure to shape policies that incorporate the best science to meet the shared goals of spatial planning for water management, environmental protection, and harmonized economic development.