Monday, February 6, 2012
Engineering Safer Drinking Water in Africa
Access to safe drinking water is a global problem for nearly a billion people. For approximately 200 million people, many in Africa, high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in the water cause disfiguring and debilitating dental and skeletal disease. University of Oklahoma (OU) environmental scientist Laura Brunson is back from Ethiopia where, with support from the National Science Foundation, she's developing fluoride filtering devices that use inexpensive materials readily available right there in the villages. Brunson is a graduate student in the WaTER (Water Technologies for Emerging Regions) Center in OU's College of Engineering. She says it's important to not only solve the water problems, but also to enlist community support. So, Brunson asks a lot of questions in the villages she's helping. She's also researching social entrepreneurship's role in mitigating the water crisis in developing regions.