By Craig Just, Marian Muste, and Allen Bradley, The Press Citizen
Have you ever seen an image of muddy river water as it flows into sea water? Many times, the “freshwater” will flow forward on top of the denser saltwater, forming a stunning, brown-blue line of demarcation (Google it). Freshwater and saltwater often mix slowly.
Conversely, community-engaged research can create a quick mix of fresh ideas and practical solutions for global water problems. This is happening in rural India through the research partnership between the Sehgal Foundation and University of Iowa engineering students and faculty. Together they battle against saltwater intrusion into shallow groundwater as part of the university’s award-winning India Winterim program. A new exchange grant from the United States-India Education Foundation will expand their work in the agricultural Mewat District of rural India. Through the educational exchange, they will implement and assess an evidence-based engineering training model that emphasizes place-based learning for sustainable water development in resource-constrained communities. The project mutually benefits U.S. and Indian partners by creating new capacity to train students, generate knowledge, and improve water sustainability in India.