Infectious Disease and Water Quality

Throughout the world increased climatic variability has exacerbated floods and droughts. All regions of the world show an overall net negative impact of climate change on water resources and freshwater ecosystems. Areas in which runoff is projected to decline are likely to face a reduction in the value of the services provided by water resources. The beneficial impacts of increased annual runoff in other areas are likely to be tempered in some areas by negative effects of increased precipitation variability and seasonal runoff shifts on water supply, water quality and flood risks (IPCC, 2007). The years 2004 and 2007 marked two of the earliest spring melts on record in the western US, and 2007 was one of the driest years on record in California. Glaciers are disappearing across the West, and Glacier National Park in Montana may have no glaciers by 2030. Warming temperatures and corresponding shifts from solid to liquid precipitation have profound implications for water supplies and management (Lundquist and Roche, 2011).


Please use this space to collect ideas, debate, and highlight concerns and areas of interest relevant to this topic.


(left) John Stanmeyer, National Geographic; (right) Lynn Johnson, National Geographic


Can mobile tech be used as distributed sensors & alerting?

In the conference session led by Kellogg, we talked about how a significant portion of a woman's day may be spent in retrieving water for her family in areas of some developing countries. Unfortunately, the water source may be polluted or may have dried up due to any one of a number of reasons.

We also discussed how wireless communications - particularly cell phones - are surprisingly widely available in many of these areas.

Questions for discussion: how might we use cell phones as a distributed sensor network to crowdsource water quality and availability?  How might we alert the women who must walk as much as 3 hours or more to get water that they need to redirect to a new location?