Since 2016, DWFI and NWC have teamed with several university departments in a unique joint initiative with some of India’s best academic institutions. The program fosters leadership in addressing global water quality challenges, such as ecological and human health impacts caused by pollutants and contaminants, groundwater quality assessment and management, and remote sensors that monitor and measure water quality. According to the World Health Organization, almost 100 million Indians lack access to safe water.
The WARI program provides Indian Ph.D. students and early-career faculty with advanced water research and mentorship opportunities at the University of Nebraska and includes a reciprocal exchange component for Nebraska students to conduct water research in India. WARI program partners include the Indian government and its Department of Science and Technology, the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC).
In 2019, the program was renewed for an additional three years by program partners in India. To date, 39 WARI Fellows from more than 25 Indian institutions have participated. In November 2018, WARI alumni and Nebraska faculty jointly organized a major workshop in India on water, energy and climate.
Big plans are in place for the program in 2020. A Nebraska-led consortium will expand WARI to satellite programs at the University of Idaho, Texas Tech University and Purdue University. Each school will host one or two fellows, introducing them to a wide range of water-related topics and expertise. UNL will continue to host the majority of the scholars.