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Energy Seminar: Dr. Elsa Murano
November 11, 2019 @ 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm CST
Beyond the Drinking Glass: Expanding our understanding of the link between water and income, nutrition, and women’s empowerment.
The Texas A&M Energy Institute will host Dr. Elsa Murano, Ph.D., President Emerita at Texas A&M University and Director of the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, for a special lecture on Energy on Monday, November 11, 2019 from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. in the Frederick E. Giesecke Engineering Research Building (GERB) Third Floor Conference Room. The topic will be “Beyond the Drinking Glass: Expanding our understanding of the link between water and income, nutrition, and women’s empowerment.”
Water, water, everywhere! Or is there? After all the severe storms we’ve experienced over the last few years, it may come as a surprise to some that one of the greatest causes of poverty in places like Africa is the lack of access to water. It is an insurmountable obstacle to progress, given that without it, we cannot grow food, we cannot build housing, we cannot stay healthy, we cannot stay in school, and we cannot keep working. Without water, especially clean water, the possibility of breaking out of the poverty cycle is slim to nonexistent. For women and young children, it is especially difficult. With even unclean water sources often located miles away from villages, many of the able-bodied members of a community are faced to spend hours each day simply finding and transporting water. The typical container used for this purpose weighs over 40 pounds when full.
The United Nations estimates that Sub-Saharan Africa alone loses 40 billion hours per year collecting water. This leaves very little time for anything else, such as making a living. When a water solution is put into place, sustainable agriculture is possible. Children get back to school instead of collecting dirty water all day, parents find more time to care for their families, expand farming to sustainable levels and even run small businesses.
Since 2012, the Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M has been the host of USAID’s Innovation Lab for Small-scale Irrigation. This project, now in its 6th year, aims to benefit farmers in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mali by improving the effective use of scarce water supplies through the introduction of promising small-scale irrigation technologies, and through the use of mathematical models as tools for farmers to be able to make strategic decisions based on data to select promising irrigation options at specific sites, regions, and watersheds. This seminar will present the results of our work in increasing agriculture income per hectare of farmers during dry seasons, and how this has improved consumption of nutritious diets, and enhanced women’s empowerment in society.