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The Effect of Non-Fluoride Factors on Risk of Dental Fluorosis: Evidence from Rural Populations of the Main Ethiopian Rift

Elevated levels of fluoride in drinking water is a well-recognized risk factor of dental fluorosis. In this study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, authors found flouride to be strongly associated with dental fluorosis in a sample of over 1000 individuals living in several rural communities in the Ethiopia. Age, sex, SSSF, and milk consumption were found to correlate with dental fluorosis outcomes, both as independent factors and through modification of the effects of flouride. In addition, several other elements in water were significantly associated with dental health in the study area, suggesting the possibility that dental fluorosis may be related to multiple contaminant exposures. Additional research is warranted to more effectively isolate these effects, and to understand the mechanisms by which they operate.

Author (s): Julia Kravchenko, Tewodros Rango, Igor Akushevich, Behailu Atlaw, Peter G. McCornick, R. Brittany Merola, Christopher Paul, Erika Weinthal, Courtney Harrison, Avner Vengosh, Marc Jeuland

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International

Journal Articles

Climate and Direct Human Contributions to Changes in Mean Annual Streamflow in the South Atlantic, USA

Streamflow responds to changing climate patterns as well as human modifications within a basin. Understanding the contribution of these different drivers to changes in streamflow provides important information regarding how to effectively and efficiently address and anticipate changes in water availability. In this study, published in the journal Water Resources Research, authors used Budyko curves to ascribe changes in streamflow due to climate and human factors between two time periods in both natural and human-modified basins in the South Atlantic. They found climate contributed to increased streamflow (average of 14%) in the South Atlantic since the 1970s. Human factors varied between basins and either amplified or minimized the effect of climate on streamflow. Human impacts were equivalent to, or greater than, climate impacts in 27% of our basins. 

Author (s): Lauren Patterson, Brian Lutz, Martin Doyle

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Characterization of Drought in the South Atlantic, United States

In this Journal of the American Water Resources Association article, authors aim to characterize drought in the South Atlantic and to understand whether drought has become more severe in this region over time using monthly streamflow to characterize hydrological drought. Significant changes in drought characteristics were tested with Mann-Kendall over three periods: 1930-2010, 1930-1969, and 1970-2010. Authors show that 71% of drought events were shorter than six months, while 7% were multiyear events. There was little evidence of trends in drought characteristics to support the claim of drought becoming more severe in the South Atlantic over the 20th Century. The one exception was a significant increase in the joint probability of nearby basins being simultaneously in drought conditions in the southern portion of the study area from 1970 to 2010. While drought characteristics have changed little through time, decreasing average streamflow in non drought periods, coupled with increasing water demand, provide the context within which recent multiyear drought events have produced significant stress on existing water infrastructure.

Author(s): Lauren Patterson, Brian Lutz, and Martin Doyle

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National

Journal Articles

Climate Change, Foreign Assistance, and Development: What Future for Ethiopia?

Alongside the persistent challenges of poverty and rural subsistence, many low-income countries such as Ethiopia face new problems brought by climate change and surging global economic activities. This paper by Duke University researchers examines the combined impacts of global climate change and the changing nature of donor assistance in Africa on economic development broadly and food security through the example of Ethiopia.

Author(s): Christopher Paul, Erika Weinthal, Courtney Harrison

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Climate & Energy

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Environmental Economics

International

Adaptation

Reports

Groundwater Quality and Its Health Impact: An Assessment of Dental Fluorosis in Rural Inhabitants of the Main Ethiopian Rift

Increased intake of dietary calcium may be key to addressing widespread dental health problems faced by millions of rural residents in Ethiopia’s remote, poverty-stricken Main Rift Valley, according to a new Duke University-led study published in the journal Environment International. As many as 8 million people living in the valley are estimated to be at risk of dental and skeletal fluorosis as a result of their long-term exposure to high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in the region’s groundwater. Most efforts to combat fluorosis in the region have focused primarily on treating drinking water to reduce its fluoride content. Increasing the amount of calcium in villagers’ diets, or finding alternative sources of drinking water may be necessary in addition to these fluoride-reducing treatments, the study found. Support came from the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Author(s): Tewodros Rango, Julia Kravchenko, Behailu Atlaw, Peter G. McCornick, Marc Jeuland, Brittany Merola, Avner Vengosh

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Building Change towards Full Cost Water: Lessons from the Rate Setting Process

To ensure the country's changing water demands and evolving environmental challenges are met, the water industry must find new strategies and partners to map a new way forward. A new paper by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions highlights the importance of rate setting strategy. By analyzing disparate rate cases, the authors show that common
strategies can exist with regard to rate setting procedures no matter how different the utility.

Author(s): David Gordon, Bill Holman

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Water

Ecosystem Services

State Policy

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Working Papers

Freshwater, Climate Change and Adaptation in the Ganges River Basin

Climate change is one of the drivers of change in the Ganges river basin, together with population growth, economic development and water management practices. These changing circumstances have a significant impact on key social and economic sectors of the basin, largely through changes in water quantity, quality and timing of availability. This paper evaluates the impact of water on changing circumstances in three sectors of the Ganges basin: agriculture, ecosystems and energy. Given the inherent interconnectedness of these core sectors and the cross-cutting impact of changing circumstances on water resources, we argue that adaptation should not be viewed as a separate initiative, but rather as a goal and perspective incorporated into every level of planning and decision making. Adaptation to changing circumstances will need to be closely linked to water resource management and will require significant collaboration across the sectors.

Author(s): Heather R. Hosterman, Peter G. McCornick, Elizabeth J. Kistin, Bharat Sharma, and Luna Bharati

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Water

Adaptation

Journal Articles

A Silent Tsunami Revisited: Extending Global Access to Clean Water and Sanitation

While billions still lack safe drinking water and sanitation, access can be enhanced through improved policy and strategic outreach, according to this report by Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute. A Silent Tsunami Revisited outlines the progress made on the expansion of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services since its companion report was released in 2005. It highlights these experts' recommendations for improving the efficacy of the WASH sector and achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation.

Author(s): Harriet C. Babbit, Malcom S. Morris

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Water

Health and Sanitation

International

Reports

Freshwater Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment: The Indrawati Sub-Basin, Nepal

This report is part of a project of WWF Nepal and the Nepalese Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS). It outlines the discussions and conclusions of three workshops held in Nepal to determine the vulnerability of the Indrawati sub-basin to the impacts of climate change and development within the context of climate change vulnerability at the national level. Held over the course of four days in Kathmandu and in the Sindhupalchok district headquarters of Chautara, the workshops brought together a diverse group of more than 60 participants, including Nepali national experts, local bureaucrats, and most importantly, local water users and subsistence farmers with direct knowledge of resource management issues in the basin.

Author(s): Ryan Bartlett, Sarah Freeman, Jonathan Cook, Bhawani S. Dongol, Roshan Sherchan, Moon Shrestha, and Peter G. McCornick

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Water

International

Adaptation

Reports

A Review of U.S. Efforts in Water and Sanitation

Access to safe water and sanitation has expanded significantly around the world in recent years, in part because of efforts by the United States, which has been increasingly active in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector through engagement by the government, foundations, NGOs, faith-based organizations, academia and the private sector. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University has assessed the momentum, funding and effectiveness of this engagement since 2005, when the Nicholas Institute and the Aspen Institute held a forum on WASH challenges. This report references recommendations from that forum and presents the results of recent structured interviews with over 45 stakeholders active in the WASH sector. These stakeholders provided invaluable insights on what has been achieved, what has changed, and what requires attention. Particular consideration was given to the efforts of the U.S. government (USG).

Author(s): Cheryl Choge, Courtney Harrison, Peter McCornick, and Ryan Bartlett

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Water

Health and Sanitation

Working Papers

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