Water: global challenges

Audio (mp3) and Powerpoints for this event are available below.

Water is the fountain of life – we can’t live without it, and we can’t seemingly manage too much of it. This century will see increasing challenges of shortage and saturation, droughts and floods. Water is the bringer of life for all, yet a deadly enemy for many. In an unequal world where water resources will increasingly become a trigger point for conflict, how should Christians engage with the challenges of development, sanitation, climate change and political and social unrest? What does the Bible have to say? What should be our Christian mandate in caring for our global neighbours experiencing the sharp end of water-related problems? What might some of the solutions be?

JRI has been partnering with Redcliffe College in Gloucester for over 10 years to put on day conferences. This year we were also in partnership with Tearfund and the theme was “Water: Global Challenges for the 21st Century”. Over 80 people came to the conference including students, development workers, scientists, farmers, theologians and environmentalists. A potent mix! The day provided thought-provoking talks and interactive seminars, as well as first-hand accounts of how people in the Global South are impacted. The day was chaired by Margot Hodson.


The speakers (l. to r.): Richard Carter (Water Aid); Frank Greaves (Tearfund); Margot Hodson (JRI, Chair); Trevor Muten (Tapajos Limited); John Bimson (Trinity College, Bristol); Micheal Travis (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel); Barbara Brighouse (Christian Engineers in Development); Sue Yardley (Tearfund); and Claire Ashton (JRI).

 

Summary

  • Water: Global Challenges for the 21st Century. Frank Greaves and Sue Yardley, Tearfund.
  • Just add water… transforming communities by providng the missing ingredient. Barbara Brighouse, Christian Engineers in Development.
  • Has the rain a father? A biblical theology of water. John Bimson, Trinity College Bristol.
  • Global Perspectives from Redcliffe College students
  • Whose water, whose water stress? Trevor Muten, Tapajos Limited
  • Water resources in the Middle East: Past present and future. Micheal Travis, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
  • Water in the UK: Rights and responsibilities. Claire Ashton, JRI.
  • Water for my community – the choices I must make. Frank Greaves/Sue Yardley, Tearfund.
  • Lasting and inclusive water and sanitation services for the poor. Richard Carter, Water Aid.

We heard from Tearfund speakers Frank Greaves and Sue Yardley about the serious nature of water crises, particularly in the developing world. Barbara Brighouse (Christian Engineers in Development) then explained the work of CED at two sites in Tanzania- bringing water and sanitation to needy communities. After an excellent lunch we then heard John Bimson (Trinity College, Bristol) on the theology of water – lots to think about. The five seminars in the afternoon gave us such a choice that it was difficult to know where to go! Excellent day, and we are already planning the next one.

 

Main Sessions

Water: Global Challenges for the 21st Century. Frank Greaves and Sue Yardley, Tearfund.

Frank Greaves is Tearfund’s WASH Adviser, and is primarily concerned with ensuring that the WASH programmes which Tearfund support, both in the relief and development context, are as effective as possible in terms of improving people’s access to safe and sustainable water, sanitation, and hygiene practice. Frank has worked for Tearfund since 1989, and travels extensively in his role. He and his wife, Laura, have lived and worked in Honduras, Tanzania, and Turkmenistan.

Sue Yardley is Tearfund’s Senior Policy Advisor on water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) and water resources management and leads the advocacy work of the organisation in this area. Sue has been with Tearfund for 3 years and prior to that has lived and worked in Uganda for a WASH NGO as well as being a Programme Manager for a Local Authority in the UK. Sue also co-chairs the UK Water Network.

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Audio (mp3) play above or download.

 

Just add water… transforming communities by providng the missing ingredient. Barbara Brighouse, Christian Engineers in Development

Having graduated in civil engineering Barbara conducted hydaulic modelling research for the British Hydromechanics Research Association in Cranfield. She later returned to university to study for a Masters degree in Water Management when her four children started to become (slightly) less demanding of her time. For the past four years she has been a Director of Christian Engineers in Development (CED) where she has conducted the design and oversight of water and sanitation projects in Tanzania, as well as helping to direct the work of the charity.

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Slideshow

Audio (mp3) play above or download.

 

Has the rain a father? A biblical theology of water. John Bimson, Trinity College Bristol

John Bimson has taught at Trinity College, Bristol, since 1981, mainly in the area of Old Testament. A keen birdwatcher since childhood, he developed an interest in environmental issues and has promoted their inclusion in courses at Trinity College, recently launching an MA module on Mission, Environment and World Development. He is also a theological consultant for Operation Noah. He likes water and has installed two ponds and a stream in his suburban garden.

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First slide

Audio (mp3) play above or download.

 

Global Perspectives from Redcliffe College students

Brigit Verlaan from the Netherlands has worked in South Africa, and explained how she learnt to thank God for water.
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Hannah Coggins from Worcester is studying a Justice course, and shared her experience of participating in the Carbon Fast.
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Andreas Radlingmayr from Germany has worked in Benin.
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Slide

Audio (mp3) play above or download recording of all three students’ presentations.

 

Seminars

Whose water, whose water stress? Trevor Muten.

Chartered as a geologist, environmentalist, scientist and water & environmental manager, Trevor Muten has 20 years experience as a Water Resources Manager and Hydrogeologist; managing, developing, protecting and enhancing groundwater resources at all scales for water companies and an environmental regulator within the driest and most populated regions of the UK. Recently, Trevor has established Tapajos Limited – a groundwater resources and environmental consultancy. Tapajos seeks to apply robust technical solutions, from regional through to community-scales; to balance sustainable use and development of groundwater resources with existing and future, human and natural environment requirements. Trevor is a visiting lecturer at the University of Brighton. He is also an active member of Holland Road Baptist Church in Hove, where has developed and led Social Justice seminars and courses, with a particular focus on development and environmental concerns. Trevor has supported a number of community development projects in south Asia using his technical skills.

 
Water resources in the Middle East: Past present and future. Micheal Travis

Micheal Travis grew up on a family dairy farm in Wisconsin, USA. He completed undergraduate and M.Sc. studies in soil and water sciences at University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. He worked as a hydrogeologist and scientist in environmental consulting, and as an environmental manager responsible for air, water, and waste issues for one of the oldest and largest tanneries in the US. In 2005 he moved with his wife and four children to Sede Boqer, Israel, in order to pursue PhD studies at the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Micheal is currently conducting post-doctoral research in constructed wetlands for treatment and reuse of wastewater in Israel.

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Water resources in the Middle East

 
Water in the UK: Rights and responsibilities. Claire Ashton, JRI.

Claire Ashton has a background in civil engineering and was based in the Research and Development department of Thames Water for ten years, most recently as a Senior Research Engineer with responsibility for investigating large water main bursts.  She is currently on a career break, looking after her two children.

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Water in UK

 
Water for my community – the choices I must make. Frank Greaves and Sue Yardley, Tearfund

Our keynote speakers from Tearfund also gave an afternoon seminar. This was based on an interactive role-play game in which community representatives made informed choices regarding building the resilience of their water supplies. The choices were then exposed to risk from climate change effects, conflict, and other events. All communities survived!

 
Lasting and inclusive water and sanitation services for the poor.
Richard Carter.

Richard CarterRichard Carter is a water sector consultant,researcher and educator, with experience working in over 30 countries around the world.  Since 2009 he has worked as Head of Technical Support with Water Aid where he manages institutional development and capacity-building activities, consultancies, research projects, and education and training programmes in many aspects of the water sector. Prior to this role he was Professor of International Water Development at Cranfield University, and has experience working in Water Management in over 30 countries. He is a Life Member of the Association of Geoscientists for International Development, Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, and has written widely in the field of water management.

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Panel Discussion

Margot Hodson chaired the panel of speakers for questions from conference participants.

Audio (mp3) play above or download.

 
With thanks to Paul Tanner and Iftikhar Ali for recording the audio and video.

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