USF Patel Center hosts UNESCO Water Institute students June 2 - 3

TAMPA, Fla. (May 27, 2008) - The Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions at the University of South Florida will host 14 students and two professors from the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in Delft, the Netherlands for a two-day program, Jun. 2 - 3.

“Water is the critical limiting factor for most nations globally, especially those of the developing world,” said Daniel Yeh, a Patel Research Fellow and assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in the USF College of Engineering. “The problem is getting progressively more serious because of population migration to cities, expanding demands for a limited resource and climate change. Florida, especially the Tampa Bay area, provides a unique living laboratory for the world to view both the extent of problems in rapidly growing metropolitan areas and the innovative approaches that have been taken to solve potential shortages of high quality water for domestic supply.”

The UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education, in partnership with the Patel Center and the Florida Earth Foundation, is bringing water managers to Tampa to learn about Florida’s water issues for application to their nations. The students will be coming from the following countries: China-PR, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam. In 2007, UNESCO-IHE and USF signed a memorandum of understanding to pursue collaborative research and education. The June visit by the UNESCO-IHE team is one of several activities implemented in accordance with the memorandum of understanding. The visit is also part of a rapidly developing formal relationship between Florida and Holland.

The theme of the Tampa Bay portion of the course is “sustainable water resources management through alternative water supplies” and will be lead by Professor Yeh. Students will learn about the advances that the Tampa Bay region has made over the years in establishing alternative water supplies to protect precious groundwater resources. Among other outings and activities, they will visit key sites around the region including water reclamation facilities, water reuse infrastructure, C.W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, the Tampa Bypass Canal and the Tampa Bay Water Desalination Plant.

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The University offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The University has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

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