The University of Iowa

In the news: Grant expands UI winter course on India water poverty

July 31st, 2018

By Allison Meyer, The Daily Iowan

The University of Iowa’s water-poverty course offered through the India Winterim Study Abroad Program will get a boost after receiving a U.S.-India 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award.

The award is a two-year, $100,000 grant from the U.S.-India Educational Foundation. It will allow the course to expand its existing partnerships with the Sehgal Foundation and IIT Roorkee in India and include students from the brand-new UI Sustainable Water Development Graduate Program.

The course is a three-week field project in which students travel to the Mewat District of rural India to study water poverty in the area and help the Sehgal Foundation’s efforts to combat the freshwater crisis there.

UI research scientist Marian Muste, the course director, partnered with UI International Programs in 2011 to start the India Winterim course during which students not only visit but contribute to the work being done by local organizations.

A shortage of freshwater in the area led the Sehgal Foundation, which supports community-led development initiatives, to create innovative ways to capture and store water. The foundation has built check dams to capture monsoon rains and in-ground storage for rainwater at local schools.

In past years, UI students have engaged in projects involving monitoring the water levels and salinity levels of the captured water to see how well the systems are able to maintain their supply and study how sustainable the approach is at creating a new water supply.