Colorado Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Symposium March 4-5

The Colorado Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Symposium will be held on March 4-5 in CU-Boulder's Discovery Learning Center. This year’s symposium will highlight ongoing debates surrounding current issues in global water and sanitation. The goal is to provide a platform for encouraging challenging discussions about global WASH issues. Students, faculty, researchers, Coloradan non-profits and internationally prominent development practitioners engaged in the WASH sector will have the opportunity to participate in the debates. While the symposium is free, participants are asked to register through the website

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced the success of the millennium development goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of the population without access to improved sources of safe drinking water. Despite this notable milestone, 768 million people still rely on unsafe drinking water sources. On top of that, almost 40 percent of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – still practice open defecation or lack improved sanitation facilities.

Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services puts thousands of people at risk for preventable disease every day and contributes to a cycle of poverty and diminished opportunities for thousands more. Children are amongst the most vulnerable and according to UNICEF nearly 2,000 die every day from diarrheal disease due to poor water and sanitation. 

There will be three debates at the symposium, each centered on a current issue within the WASH sector:

  • Innovative approaches in achieving universal access to clean drinking water.
  • Addressing and prioritizing investments in the WASH sector.
  • Sustainable solutions in urban water sanitation for the urban poor.

There will be an engaging break out session involving group discussions with students, NGO representatives and keynote speakers. This will provide an opportunity for brainstorming, diversifying ideas, as well as networking.

The event is being organized by a group of undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines at CU-Boulder interested in WASH. The Engineering Excellence Fund and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are supporting the event.

Information about other WASH related events could be found at WASHadvocates.org and UNwater.org.

If you would like more information on the symposium or to schedule interviews with symposium speakers, contact Camilla Restrepo at 720-232-8754, or camila.restrepo@colorado.edu.

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