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Pakistan-US Science and Technology Cooperation Program
Phase 7 (2017 Deadline)

Capacity building at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology to address drinking water issues in Pakistan
US Partner: Ramesh Goel, University of Utah
Pakistan Partner: Rasool Mahar, Mehran University of Engineering & Technology

Project summary
The goal is to establish research infrastructure and expertise at Mehran University to study microbiological drinking water quality, with a special focus on antibiotic resistant bacteria in the environment. This project will train and inspire the next generation of water sector professionals, including disadvantaged students, to meet the specialized demands of the Government and drinking water industry sectors. Pakistani graduate students and faculty members will be visiting the research lab in the U.S. Online short workshops will be conducted to disseminate the latest knowledge about key environmental issues. Additionally, the principal investigator (PI) from the U.S side will help the PI from the Pakistan side to develop new courses and/or modify existing environmental engineering and science courses.

Progress Reports

2018: Maintaining a sustainable potable water supply is one of the grand challenges of the 21st century and Pakistan is far behind in this need. Water contaminated with harmful pathogens and chemical substances leads to more than 200 diseases worldwide (Alvarez et al., 2013). It is estimated that unsafe water is linked to 2 million deaths annually worldwide, including children. In this project, we will establish a world-class education and research program dedicated to addressing microbiological drinking water quality and water infrastructure related issues in Pakistan. Special attention will be given to the presence and identity of antibiotic resistance bacteria (ARB). This focus on ARB in distribution systems is valuable not only for understanding disease burden in Pakistan, but also worldwide. Given the readily available access to over-the-counter antibiotics in Pakistan, these systems provide the ideal research arena for evaluating ARB and biofilms in distribution systems. Students from the US side will gain international research experience in drinking water research to address global water scarcity.