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Water experts from around the world come to USF for conference next week

Posted Jun 10, 2011 by Lindsay Peterson

Updated Jun 13, 2011 at 09:25 AM

Officials around the world at nearly every level - government, education, business, military - worry about water supply and quality issues.

One in eight people has no access to safe drinking water and more than 3.5 million die from water-related diseases, says the World Health Organization.

Ultimately, lack of access to clean water can lead to armed conflict, because in the end, it’s a matter of life and death.

“The only way out of a problem this global, is to get everyone to work together,” said Thomas Mason, USF public health professor.

That’s the idea behind his three-day conference at USF, starting on Monday. He used his academic and public health service contacts worldwide to assemble a diverse group of experts.

Katherine Bliss, of the nonprofit Center for Strategic and International Studies, will talk about the many elements that affect access to safe drinking water.

Jean-Paul Chretien, a U.S. Navy doctor and epidemiologist, will explain water issues related to the security of Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Greg Allgood, of Proctor & Gamble, will discuss the company’s effort to provide clean household water in developing countries to prevent childhood deaths.

Registration is free and open to the public. Go here to register and find a list of the other speakers, who will look at water’s political, economic, even religious significance.

“Water really is a unifying issue,” Mason said.

“As an academic institution, we have a responsibility to foster these types of cross-cutting collaborations and to create a place where we can have a free and open dialogue.

“We all need to leave our parochial interests at the door and focus on what we need to accomplish.”

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