Today we had a very promising start of the 69th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SC69). We can look forward to four intense weeks of exchange.
Three and a half weeks went by in a flash and today we officially said goodbye to the scholarship holders of the 68th International Short Course – Integrated Water Management and Health. 22 Nations in festive dresses gathered in the ceremonial hall of the TU Dresden rectorate, listening to thoughtful speeches and ceremonious music and celebrating the successful completion of the first Short Course of the 2016/2017 CIPSEM course year. It was a pleasure to have you here SC68, we wish you success with your challenge to find solutions and methods to secure the world’s water supply!
By Louisa Chinyavu Mwenda (Kenya)
When I first saw the brochure for the short courses offered at CIPSEM in Dresden, Germany at the UNEA in Nairobi, Kenya in May 2016, I was very excited, picked the brochure and also managed to have a chat and exchange contacts with course director Dr. Anna Görner (I am not sure if she remembers this! Editor’s note: She does 😉). I only had a few days before the deadline, so I immediately worked on the application and submitted it… and waited for any response. Just to summarize, as I write this, I am in Dresden… so yes, I got a fellowship award for the 68th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Integrated Water Resources Management and Health!
Dresden is a beautiful place with so much to see, I am afraid I will go back home having not yet explored the city fully.
On arrival, the first thing to capture my attention was the Elbe River, which flows through Dresden offering scenic breath taking views. My attention was also drawn to sculptures and huge monuments in forms of mainly museums, churches and castles with a lot of historical background spread in the main city center. The Semper Oper is another amazing building hosted by Dresden, which reminded me so much of a board game I owned some years ago called the Notre Dame.
Currently, Dresden – and I think most parts of Germany – are full of blossoming flowers which I bet during this time of the year, is common. Florals add a burst of color into the streets and homes, parading the city beautifully. And I cannot even quantify the number of apple trees I have seen, not to mention several apples ready to eat just within our reach!
Also, it is very frequent to spot alternative energy sources such as wind farms and solar panels which the country can boast about. I observed that wind farms are very common within several parts of Germany. I am yet to learn more about Dresden in the remaining days but in short, it is an amazing location for both academic and recreational purposes!
By Louisa Chinyavu Mwenda (Kenya)
On 15th September 2016, the participants of the 68th UNEP/UNESCO/BMUB International Short Course on Integrated Water Resources Management and Health set out for the ecological station in Neunzehnhain. Along the way from Dresden to the station, I observed that land is mainly characterized as large farms, and as we approached Neunzehnhain, the area becomes hilly and forests are abundant! When we arrived at the station, we were welcomed with breath taking views of the dam with an amazing forest backdrop (I shared the above picture with my friends back home and two suggested that area looks like a good “honeymoon” location!).
We were lucky to have a chance to get in deep within the dam, 30 meters deep to be precise, where we experienced a cool 6 degrees! Unfortunately for security reasons, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the dam. When we were done with the dam, we headed back to our new “home” to settle and rest… or preferably described as catching up! At the center there is no mobile network coverage and also no wifi, which I think worked okay as it promoted group dynamics and the participants bonded more with each other, discussing various cultural differences majorly on song and dance! The area is tranquil and serene, which is good for relaxing! Dr. Paul welcomed us heartily, such a charming man he is, and an expert too in water! We had a tantalizing meal with fresh fish (my favorite!) among other varieties. We also learned that one of the participants is a talented pianist and he entertained us with one piece before we left for bed. The next morning we had an interactive session on microbiology and we had the chance to actually be hands-on at the lab, which was exciting and very interesting especially to see some of the micro-organisms in the water samples. At about midday, we then set off to the Ore Mountains, at a restaurant where we had lunch facilitated by CIPSEM; and after we proceeded to other dams within the area, guided by Dr. Paul, for another session on water reservoirs before we left for Dresden.
As also outlined in the Wold Water Quality Assessment Report presented during the recent Wold Water Week, Water and health issues are highly interlinked and are in turn influenced by a range of factors. A group activity has unpacked some of the most crucial connections and helped to strengthen system thinking.
Four groups have unraveled in a comprehensive way how the following issues influence the water-health nexus:
• Which role do weather and climate play?
• What can the impact of culture and habits be?
• How does land use and land cover influence the health-water relationship?
• What are the connections between nutrition, water and health?
Numerous cases were shared to illustrate these connections in the context of the participants home regions.
The group left Dresden upstream the river Elbe to Pirna, as there is a TU Dresden outpost of the hydro-sciences department to visit the Junior Research Group INOWAS. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and runs until 2018. The research group around our host Dr. Catalin Stefan aims at providing stakeholders with a scientifically based decision support system for planning, design and management of applications in the water sector. The focus lies on the qualitative and quantitative assessment of the managed groundwater reservoirs by means of scenario analysis, prognosis and risk assessment and with regard to the influencing climatic factors. More information on the research can be found on their website: https://tu-dresden.de/bu/umwelt/hydro/inowas
(Photos: T. Karp)
By Binh Pham Doan Thanh (Vietnam)
13 September, we had the next interesting excursion to Waterworks Tolkewitz, which was built about one hundred years ago. It is placed on the left bank of the Elbe River and uses the river water as a source for producing drinking water. At the plant we were welcomed by the former head of the Water works Tolkewitz, a very kind and experienced man. During the following hour he explained the formation and development of the drinking water supply system of Dresden. After that, we visited the drinking water treatment area. The pipe system is completely isolated from the external environment to make sure that the water will always meet all standards and norms. It was a system worth learning. Finally, I would like to thank Dr. André Lindner for his translation work during the whole excursion.