Water for Food Digest Header
NU agencies lead project to help MENA region respond to drought
The Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska and the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are co-leading a $4 million research effort with the Dubai-based International Center for Biosaline Agriculture. The project is designed to help the Middle East and North Africa region balance water consumption and increase agricultural productivity, with a focus on drought management. Learn more.

MENA research project image
WFI participates in World Water Forum kick-off meeting
Plans have begun for the 8th World Water Forum, which will be held in Brasilia, Brazil, in March 2018. Produced by the World Water Council, the forum is the largest international conference on water held every three years in different host cities around the world. WFI directors Christopher Neale and Molly Nance, together with Tom Farrell, senior advisor to the UNL chancellor, international affairs, participated in the kick-off meeting held June 26-28, in Brasilia.

The team met with World Water Council leaders Tom Soo, executive director, and Danielle Gaillard-Picher, director of policy and programs, to discuss opportunities for WFI's active participation in the water for food track of the forum. The team also shared ideas and support for water and food security topics during the break-out sessions of the planning conference and networked with colleagues in affiliated organizations.

Following the conference, Neale and Nance met with leaders of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture where Neale provided an overview on the Water for Food Global Institute's mission, focus areas of research and current projects. The IICA staff shared an update on their projects and the group discussed areas where the two organizations could share expertise through joint programs or study exchanges.

World Water Forum kick-off meeting 2016
From left: Hernan Chiriboga, Representative of Brazil, IICA; Gertjan Beekman, Coordinator of Natural Resources, IICA; Christopher Neale, Director of Research, WFI; Molly Nance, Director of Communication, WFI and Rodolfo Daldegan, Technology Consultant, IICA at the IICA office in Brasilia, Brazil.
Visiting researchers begin series of networking lunches
On July 20, WFI hosted the first in a series of "Lunch and Learn" events for participants in the inaugural Water Advanced Research and Innovation Fellowship Program at Nebraska Innovation Campus. The WARI program is a partnership between WFI, UNL, the Indian government's Department of Science and Technology and the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum. The events give WARI scholars an opportunity to share ideas and learn more about their research in India and at UNL.

WARI Fellow Manish Kumar (pictured below, center) presented his research. At UNL, Kumar is being mentored by WFI Faculty Fellows Yusong Li and Pat Shea. Learn more.

WARI participants gather a Nebraska Innovation Campus.
Argentine officials discuss ag cooperation
Argentine delegation July 2016
A high-level delegation from Argentina visited UNL July 11-14 to discuss areas for cooperation in water resource management and governance, irrigation and related technologies such as remote sensing, crop improvement and soil health, including efforts to improve carbon sequestration.

On July 12, WFI hosted a meeting with the group to share information about the institute and the university's water and agricultural research. Pictured is Faculty Fellow Derrel Martin providing remarks on high efficiency irrigation in Nebraska. Learn more.
New UNL course to foster understanding of water in society
A three-year grant from the National Science Foundation aims to foster STEM education and water literacy at UNL. The funding will support the development of a new "Water in Society" course, which will be available in spring 2017. This interdisciplinary course will introduce undergraduate students - tomorrow's global citizens - to the scientific and non-scientific dimensions of historical and contemporary socio-hydrological systems and to help them effectively analyze and make decisions about complex challenges and issues associated with water use.

The project leader for the grant is WFI Faculty Fellow Cory Forbes, UNL associate professor and science literacy coordinator. In addition to Forbes, WFI Director of Policy Nick Brozovic and WFI Faculty Fellow Trenton Franz, assistant professor in the UNL School of Natural Resources, are also working on the project. Learn more. 
Interdisciplinary study promotes community health in Nebraska

USDA drinking form hose
(USDA, Flickr)
An team of WFI Faculty Fellows from across the four NU campuses is leading a two-year study designed to help Nebraska establish a healthy environment as a human right. In collaboration with select communities, the researchers are assessing environmental indicators that contribute to well-being, such as clean water, nutrition, and healthy livestock, as well as social and political factors. The project also entails developing a plan to deliver resources that will help address health deficiencies in these communities.

The "Healthy Nebraska and Beyond: Building Health from the Bottom-up along Waterways" project includes WFI Faculty Fellows:
  • Peter Longo, University of Nebraska at Kearney
  • Patrick McNamara, University of Nebraska at Omaha
  • Eli Rogan, University of Nebraska Medical Center
  • Alan Kolok, UNO and UNMC
A recent article on the project appeared in the Ainsworth Star-Journal and features Satoshi Machida, an associate professor at UNK who is also working on the project.  
Podcast inspired by food safety conference co-convened by UNL
A new podcast by the Institute on Science for Global Policy tackles a topic that was initiated at "Food Safety, Security, and Defense: Focus on Food and Water," a conference co-convened by UNL in Oct.  2013. WFI Founding Executive Director Roberto Lenton served as a presenter.

"Episode 21: The First Ingredient" addresses the impact of water on food safety, furthering a debate that was held at the conference. Listen now. 
Faculty Fellows in the news

Shannon Bartelt-Hunt
Edgar Cahoon
'Dr. Drought' plans to keep spreading message about threat of climate change
Recently retired WFI Faculty Fellow Don Wilhite (pictured) continues to shine a light on climate change and drought preparedness in Nebraska and internationally. Learn more.
Studying the ties between climate, ag and groundwater quality
Researchers from UNL, including WFI Faculty Fellow Shannon Bartelt-Hunt (pictured), is studying the connections between agriculture, climate and groundwater quality in the Great Plains. Learn more.
Cahoon honored for contributions to plant lipid research
WFI Faculty Fellow Edgar Cahoon (pictured) received the Terry Galliard Medal at the 22nd International Symposium on Plant Lipids in Göttingen, Germany. The award recognizes his significant contributions to the field of plant lipid research. Learn more.
On the blog

Student researcher awarded FAO-IAEA internship to advance nuclear science for agriculture
On July 18, former WFI student researcher William Avery began a one-year internship in Vienna with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Atomic Energy Agency for a joint research project. Avery will be using his skills developed working alongside his adviser Trenton Franz, WFI Faculty Fellow. Avery will be helping the IAEA develop its use of cosmic ray technology to advance the use of nuclear science to study agriculture. Read blog.
William Avery rides in a Cosmic-ray Mobile Rover.
45th Annual Water and Natural Resources Tour
WFI intern Jasmine Mausbach recaps her experience exploring various sites in Colorado while on the Nebraska Water Center's annual water and natural resources tour in June. Read blog.

Tour participants learning about the Strontia Springs Dam on top of its spillway.
Nebraska Water Center updates
Husker Harvest Days: UNL exhibits focus on "Weather Ready Farms"
Exhibits presented by UNL's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at this year's Husker Harvest Days event, Sept. 13-15, near Grand Island, Nebraska, will highlight ways agricultural producers can maintain profitability while addressing challenges from the Nebraska climate.

"With a theme of 'Weather Ready Farms: Successfully Managing Extremes,' we have further defined our focus on research, recommendations and tools designed to help our farmers and ranchers prepare for large variations in weather and economic conditions, and to improve their prospects for success in challenging environments," said Ron Yoder, interim NU Vice President and IANR Vice Chancellor.

Learn more.

Husker Harvest Days building
Updated Nebraska Water Center brochure available
NWC logo
The Nebraska Water Center has a new informational brochure, available for download on its website.

To request a hard copy, please email Steve Ress or phone (+1) 402.472.9549.
Upcoming events

Stockholm World Water Week | Aug. 28-Sept. 2
World Water Week
This year marks the fifth year that WFI will participate in World Water Week, organized annually by the Stockholm International Water Institute. The focus of this year's event is "Water and Sustainable Growth." WFI is co-convening two workshops on Aug. 30:

Telling Your Story to Make an Impact
Co-conveners: CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) led by IWMI, KickStart International and Redstone

Role-playing How Water Markets Improve Food Security and the Environment
Co-conveners: Mammoth Trading and Rockefeller Foundation
NU Connections | Oct. 6
NIC banquet hall
A special breakfast event will be co-hosted by the University of Nebraska's four interdisciplinary, university-wide institutes: WFI, Buffett Early Childhood Institute, National Strategic Research Institute and the Rural Futures Institute. The event will feature a panel discussion with the executive directors from each of the institutes, moderated by NU President Hank Bounds.

The event will be Oct. 6 from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at Nebraska Innovation Campus. It is open to all NU faculty, staff and students and other stakeholders. More details to come!
Nebraska Water Center Symposium | Oct. 20
Water Law Conference | Oct. 21
The Nebraska Water Center's annual water symposium is Thursday, Oct. 20, followed by a jointly sponsored NWC/University of Nebraska College of Law water law conference on Friday, Oct. 21.  Both events will be held at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln. The symposium will feature presentations on water basins and panel discussions focused on the Upper and Lower Platte River, Republican, Blue and Niobrara Rivers. Learn more.


Mesfin Mergia Mekonnen, postdoctoral research associate
Mesfin Mergia Mekonnen
Mesfin Mergia Mekonnen joined WFI in June 2016 as a postdoctoral research associate. Originally from Ethiopia, Mekonnen is interested in understanding the interactions of human and natural systems in determining the sustainability of freshwater resources. His specialties include, water footprint assessment, water scarcity, water management, crop water use modeling, spatial modeling and water for energy.

Using his previous experience assessing global water footprint, Mekonnen is developing an analytical framework and methodologies to assess water productivity in Nebraska at different spatial scales to help prepare the inaugural "Nebraska Water Productivity Report." The methodologies developed in the pilot project will be used to create an annual "Global Water Productivity Report." Read full bio.

Funding opportunities

National Academy of Sciences | Prize in Food & Agricultural Sciences
Deadline: Oct. 3
Amount: $100,000

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research has established the first-ever National Academy of Sciences prize dedicated to food and agriculture research. The $100,000 prize for a mid-career scientist is endowed by FFAR and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The annual award recognizes extraordinary contributions to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. Learn more.

About Us
The Water for Food Global Institute (WFI) at the University of Nebraska was founded in 2010 by the Robert B. Daugherty Foundation to address the global challenge of achieving food security w less stress on water resources through improved water management in agricultural and food sithystems. It is committed to ensuring a water and food secure world while maintaining the use of water for other human and environmental needs.  
For more information, visit waterforfood.nebraska.edu.