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News and Updates

Senator Durbin and Water Insecurity

December 14, 2022
Sera Young and colleagues spent a Friday afternoon with Senator Richard Durbin and his staff to discuss water insecurity. It is wonderful to see that the Senator is committed to water security for all, both domestically and internationally.

Water Insecurity is Stressing Mental Health

November 17, 2022
Axios highlighted a new study by Sera Young that investigates who experiences the highest rates of water insecurity in 31 countries by going beyond "measuring water in terms of what we can touch ... to measuring individual experiences."

New Lancet Planetary Health Study Published

November 10, 2022

The Lancet Lancet Planetary Health published a study with data describing experiences of water insecurity among half the world’s population using the IWISE Scale. See the accompanying policy brief to learn about the surprising findings related to gender and urbanicity.

UNC Water and Health Meeting

October 24, 2022
The WISE Scales were well-represented at UNC Water and Health Conference in October; the session on the use of the scales generated enormous enthusiasm across academics and practitioners.

The IWISE-4 is Valid, Reliable, and Cross-Country Equivalent

September 12, 2022

When survey space is tight, 4 of the 12 IWISE items can be administered to establish the prevalence of water insecurity in just 1 minute. For severity of water insecurity, stick with the 12-item IWISE Scale. The WISE researchers appreciate the Journal of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Development for their commitment to open-access publishing.

WISE Scales Featured at World Water Week

August 1, 2022
The WISE Scales were featured in three different panels during Stockholm World Water Week. Videos of these sessions will be posted online soon.

Brazilian Research Network on Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security Adds HWISE Scale to Survey

July 12, 2022

The Brazilian Research Network on Food and Nutrition Sovereignty and Security added the HWISE Scale to their nationally representative survey of food insecurity and COVID. Face-to-face surveys were done with 12,745 households from November 2021–April 2022. Initial results can be found here.

Experiences with Water Insecurity Need Measured in Clinics, Schools, and Prisons

June 20, 2022
Experiences with water insecurity need measured in clinics, schools, and prisons, too! WISE researchers are collaborating with Helvetas and the Swiss Water and Sanitation Consortium to review tools for measuring experiences with WASH in institutions, with an eye towards creating a short, reliable, validated, and equivalent tool. Check out their blog post here.

New Research Shows that Food Insecurity and Water Insecurity are Connected

May 9, 2022
Results of a 25-country study led by UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, Northwestern University, and University of South Carolina show that individuals who are food insecure are much more likely to be water insecure, even after controlling for known confounders. These findings were presented at an IFAD conference in Rome and at the American Society for Nutrition’s annual meeting.

Sera Young Discusses Water Insecurity with Indonesian Delegation

May 1, 2022

Sera Young met with Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, to discuss the WISE Scales when his delegation visited Northwestern University.

IPCC Sixth Assessment Report Highlights the Value of Measuring Water Insecurity

April 4, 2022
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlighted the value of experiential measures of water insecurity.

WISE Scales Featured at 9th World Water Forum

March 14, 2022
The WISE Scales have been selected by the World Water Council to be featured at the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal. 

HWISE Implemented in Mexican Homes to Capture Data on Water Insecurity

March 7, 2022
The HWISE Scale has been implemented in approximately 12,000 households as part of the Government of Mexico’s 2021 National Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANUT). These data will give unprecedented insights into how water insecurity is associated with a range of health and nutrition outcomes. 

Water Insecurity in Mexico

February 16, 2022
In collaboration with Iberoamericana University, Yale, Acción Ciudadana Frente a la Pobreza, and others, the HWISE Scale was implemented in a nationally representative survey in Mexico in October 2021, and revealed that 32% of households were water insecure (IWISE score of 12 or higher). This story was covered by the leading Mexico City newspaper. The press release, at which the president the president of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) spoke, is found here.

HWISE in Mongolia

December 6, 2021
UNICEF’s MICS-Plus survey has implemented HWISE in Mongolia. Stay tuned for its implementation in other countries!

Cairo Water Week

November 28, 2021
The WISE Scales were featured at a panel at Cairo World Water Week sponsored by UNESCO.

Deep Dive on Water

November 18, 2021
Sera Young joins Josina Morita, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District in Cook County, Jonathan Nez, president of the Navajo Nation and others to discuss water insecurity and the WISE Scales on WNYC. Listen to the interview.

2021 Water & Health Conference

October 7, 2021
In a session at the UNC Water and Health conference, Sera Young offered one of the first glimpses into experiences of water insecurity in half the world’s population.

Individual Water Insecurity Experiences Scale

October 6, 2021
The Individual Water Insecurity Experiences Scale is published! The IWISE Scale is a modified version of the HWISE Scale, that permits disaggregation of experiences by gender, age, and other socio-demographic characteristics.

UN World Data Forum

October 5, 2021
In a panel at the UN World Data Forum with members from the World Meteorological Organization, World Bank, the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, and the renowned French author Erik Orsenna, Sera Young discussed the sustainability of water data, and the importance of bringing a human voice to the water sector.

Mexico Implements HWISE Scale

September 15, 2021
The HWISE Scale is being implemented by Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública in the National Nutrition Survey in Mexico (ENSANUT). These data will provide important insights into the association between experiences of water insecurity and food insecurity, nutrition and maternal and child health throughout Mexico. 

World Water Week 2021

August 27, 2021

During World Water Week, hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute, Sera Young joined Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director General of FAO and Julián Suarez, Vice President of Sustainable Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) to speak about solutions to address water insecurity and how the WISE Scales can be an effective tool to measure access to water. She also spoke in a session on digital water tech and innovative digital solutions to address water insecurity. 

UNICEF Implements HWISE Scale in Survey

August 9, 2021

UNICEF is implementing the HWISE Scale in several Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) countries! Data should be available in a few months.

HWISE-4 Implemented in Zone of Influence Surveys

July 3, 2021
USAID’s flagship project, Feed the Future, has encouraged priority countries to implement the HWISE-4 in all Zone of Influence surveys. This means we will have a lot of data on water and food insecurity in the next couple of years!  

Water Security and Nutrition

July 1, 2021

Josh Miller led a review, published in Advances in Nutrition, which nicely explains how water security creates a better environment for good nutrition. Watch on YouTube.

Filling the Data Gaps on Water Poverty with Sera Young

July 1, 2021

Sera Young discussed the need for experiential data on water insecurity on The Stream, a podcast with Will Sarni and Tom Freyberg. Listen to the interview.

Why Measuring Water Access is Key for Effective Food Policy

June 1, 2021

Sera Young laid out five key implications of measuring water security for food security in this perspective in the journal Food Policy, and the study was shared in briefings across USAID.

Happy news that the WISE Scales will be featured in a session at UN World Data Forum in Bern in early October.

What's Really in Your Water?

May 2, 2021

Happy Drinking Water Week. Check out an op-ed by Sera Young and Julius Lucks in Scientific American describing how they are creating rapid at-home tests, similar to pregnancy tests, to check for lead in water.