Water Systems Review

Students from around the world gathered at USF’s Patel College of Global Sustainability for a one day seminar examining water resource management techniques.



Special to USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (May 24, 2013) – An annual water resource management course hosted by the University of South Florida’s College of Global Sustainability attracted 33 UNESCO-IHE students from around the world last week – the largest group to visit USF’s campus since the program’s inception.


The students, largely from developing countries, traveled to the U.S. for a two-week program in Florida that offers a comparative look at water systems. The Florida Earth Foundation is the second U.S. partner in the annual program with UNESCO-IHE.

USF has collaborated with the prestigious UNESCO-IHE Institute for  Water Education on this program for seven years and is based on a memorandum of understanding between the two schools aimed at furthering collaboration in research and education. USF is the only university in the U.S. with the type of agreement with UNESCO-IHE.

The one-day program Friday was designed to highlight innovative research happening at USF and to give an overview of local water systems and management for potential implementation in the students’ native countries.

The day began with welcome remarks by USF Vice Provost Graham Tobin and continued with presentations by the Patel College team led by Dean Kala Vairavamoorthy outlining the college’s research priorities and programs. The morning proceeded with a local water management overview from Tampa Bay Water officials followed by a UNESCO-IHE presentation highlighting additional collaborative opportunities with Patel College researchers and master’s students, including exchanges.

The theme of innovative research at USF continued for the rest of the afternoon through a compelling presentation by George Philippidis on renewable fuels and the energy-water nexus immediately followed by Balaji Padmanabhan’s talk on the importance of data analytics in business and how it can be applied to the water sector. The day concluded with a presentation and lab tour at the USF Research Park that focused on nutrient removal from stormwater using low impact development technologies.

The UNESCO-IHE students walked away with a great overview of the innovative research happening at the University of South Florida with several expressing interest in pursuing a PhD here.

“We are proud of our long running relationship with UNESCO-IHE as part of our global outreach efforts and we look forward to hosting the students each spring. We view each class of students as potential ambassadors and research partners for  the USF Patel College once they return to their respective countries,” said Bessie Skoures, associate director of Outreach at the Patel College.

UNESCO-IHE professors Schalk-Jan van Andel and Jose Leonardo Alfonso Segura accompanied students.