A Letter from Wendy

Dear HWISE Community,
I am grateful for the positive energy, engagement and support from the HWISE RCN community. As we mark the third year since this dynamic collaboration officially kicked off at Texas A&M in September 2016, we have accomplished more than I could have ever imagined. We are now a community of over 60 scholars from around the world. We have driven the discussion around serious challenges of water insecurity for communities through our multi-disciplinary collaboration across the various domains of water security research. We are leading the way in terms of methods, analytics, and research questions such that HWISE is a leader in this space.
I want to also highlight our revised website, with new spaces to showcase collaborative work of our network. For example, we have colleagues, lead by Alex Brewis, working on several initiatives on HWISE between Arizona State University and Haramaya University. The WI>FI project investigates explicitly the conditions under which household food insecurity might be accounted for by water insecurity. Longitudinal data collection is currently underway in collaboration with Haramaya University, Ethiopia and the Kersa Health and Demographic Surveillance System.  Working closely with the Texas A&M Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, I am building stronger research ties with USAID partners, Feed the Future, and IFPRI through a new project in Mali that investigates the relationship between water for domestic purposes and water for farmer-led, small-scale irrigation. More to come on that front!
We have seen the collaborations expand, deepen, and break new ground! The HWISE Scale is reverberating through the international community -- with many organizations adopting this metric for their work -- including UNESCO and Oxfam. In November, HWISE in collaboration with UBC will host a workshop on household water insecurity in higher-income countries and in March, Justin Stoler will lead an NSF-funded workshop on geospatial dimensions of HWISE (details to come).
Please let us know what you are doing! Send us an update to include in our monthly newsletter!
And on a final note, I want to extend my personal thanks to Amy Truong, HWISE Program Coordinator. This is the last month Amy will be with us. She has successfully defended her thesis on transboundary water justice in the Colorado River Basin and will graduate with an MS degree in Water Management and Hydrological Sciences. She has been a partner, champion, and fantastic member of the RCN, and we will miss her contribution to this endeavor as Program Coordinator. Amy is seeking new opportunities to develop her professional portfolio, and we wish her all the best.
HWISE Scholar Highlight

Dr. Amanda Fencl
Dr. Amanda Fencl is this month's HWISE Scholar Highlight.
Dr. Amanda Fencl is an interdisciplinary environmental geographer and current Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Geography at Texas A&M University.  She is working on the TAMU President’s Excellence Fund X-Grant project, Pathways to Sustainable Urban Water Security, as a member of an interdisciplinary research team led by Dr. Wendy Jepson. As part of the Pathways project, she will help examine how complex and anticipatory water governance regimes influence sustainable urban transitions with a focus on desalination and reuse technologies in California and Australia. She’s also currently collaborating with the Community Water Center supporting the development of a groundwater-focused drinking water webtool. Her research generally focuses on the ways in which governance arrangements at multiple levels erode and enhance resilience to climate and other environmental changes.
As a member of the UC Davis Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior, her dissertation project “Drinking Water Governance for Climate Change: Learning from a California Drought” used surveys, interviews, and GIS to explore the ways in which California’s polycentric water governance system is adapting to changing environmental conditions and extreme events. Amanda co-authored several other studies during her time at UC Davis. She investigated water access and injustice in California’s San Joaquin Valley, explored how small drinking water systems were adapting to climate change and droughts, and contributed to interdisciplinary reviews on groundwater security, drought, and climate change. Prior to UC Davis, she spent six years as a Staff Scientist with the Stockholm Environment Institute in the water resources and climate change adaptation research groups.  For more information visit her website and follow her on twitter @alfencl.
Selected Recent Publications:

HWISE Scale Published in BMJ Global Health


We are excited to announce that, "The Household Water InSecurity Experiences (HWISE) Scale: development and validation of a household water insecurity measure for low-income and middle-income countries" paper is now published in the BMJ Global Health Journal. The scale is suited in Lower-Middle Income Countries and can help transform out knowledge of water insecurity at the household scale. Congratulations to Dr. Sera Young for leading this effort and to all contributors and collaborators. 

HWISE Members (from left) Chad Staddon, Amber Wutich, Wendy Jepson, Patrick Thompson and Justin Stoler in Beijing for the AWRA “Water Security” Speciality Conference, September 16-18, 2019

HWISE at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing

Amber Wutich, President's Professor at Arizona State University and HWISE Executive Committee member, led a group of network scholars as a keynote speaker at the American Water Resources Association-Chinese Academy of Sciences International Conference on Water Security. Amber’s talk impressively opened in Mandarin, a language she studied as an undergraduate major, and advanced our HWISE vision of water insecurity by showcasing our collective and individual work.  Her talk reverberated through the conference, as the HWISE representatives had productive meetings that placed our research agenda at the forefront of our conversations. 

Amber’s keynote was followed by a panel discussion organized by Wendy Jepson. Patrick Thomson presented on SmartPumps, Justin Stoler presented new analyses on water expenditures, Amber Wutich presented the ongoing work she and Alex Brewis have been advancing in the area of food and water insecurity, and Chad Staddon discussed his work on socio-technology and household water security. We hope that this work will lead to a special issue in Water International and other collaborative opportunities with scholars at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Household Water Insecurities: Uncertainty around the Tap


By: Dr. Amber Wutich and Dr. Wendy Jepson

In their contribution to the “Chancing the Storm” series, Amber Wutich and Wendy Jepson address how water insecurity promulgates various forms of uncertainty that impact households in both the Global North and South. Drawing on their multinational research, they show how insecurity is experienced differently, depending on geographical, political, and economic conditions—where water comes from, whether households or municipalities can invest in water infrastructure, or whether residents can afford water. Yet, across different contexts, uncertainty is both a driver and consequence of water insecurity. Wutich and Jepson demonstrate how social science contributes to understanding how these dynamics can open up new channels for community-centered water management.

Read more

Dr. Leila Harris Discusses Water Insecurity

Watch Dr. Leila Harris, Professor at University of British Columbia and HWISE-RCN steering committee member, discuss the socio-political consequences of uneven water access and quality.

International WATers Releases New Training Modules

The International WaTERS Network is proud to announce the release of our online Training Modules. These training modules are intended to give students and practitioners an open access tool to learn more about water governance challenges – with focus on equity and resilience in the global South.

There are 5 modules, each with a number of submodules. Each module contains a mix of videos, open access readings, and the chance to test your knowledge of the material. Many also include reflection and discussion questions that might be helpful teaching resources or learning guides. Each submodule should take between 1 and 2 hours and can be a standalone unit or used in conjunction with the other lessons. As such, to complete all lessons we expect that this will take up to 30 hours of work (watching videos, doing the readings, and so forth). We are happy to provide certification for completion of all 5 modules, the instructions are on the module webpage.

We would like to thank and recognize the hard work put into these training modules by many members of the IW Network. Thank you to Prof. Larry Baker, Prof. Jacqueline Goldin, Claudia Mukong, Prof. Michelle Kooy, Cecilia Alda Vidal, Dr. Anamika Barua, Dr. Sumit Vij, Lena Hommes, Prof Rutgerd Boelens, Scott McKenzie, and KJ Joy.

The modules include

If you have any questions or need help connecting to the modules, please contact us at Any errors, broken links, or needed corrections can also be emailed to that address as well.

Scholarly Updates

Teams of HWISE collaborators recently submitted four water insecurity-oriented papers—on topics ranging from food insecurity, infant feeding, measures of water quality, and urban poverty—to the American Journal of Human Biology for a special issue on water and human biology. We hope to be well-represented in the planned 2020 issue.
Ongoing household water insecurity projects using multi-site HWISE survey data include analyses of water worry (Ashley Hagaman); water expenditures (Amber Pearson); water sharing (Asher Rosinger and Amber Wutich); injuries (Vidya Venkataramanan); water sociotechnology (Chad Staddon); gender and intersectionality (Leila Harris); coping strategies (Shalean Collins); urbanism, piped water schemes, and intermittency (Wendy Jepson); and population and environmental drivers (Justin Stoler). Please reach out to the respective project lead if you have questions or are interested in contributing. To propose a new analysis using HWISE survey data, please use the project proposal form on the RCN web site.

Job Announcements

  • Research Fellowship in Socio-Environmental Systems. The University of Manchester. Apply by October 6.
  • Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Statistical Analysis. Michigan State University. Open until filled. Apply.
  • Assistant Professor in Department of Political Science and International/Global Studies. Open until filled. Apply.
  • Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies. North Central College. Open until filled. Apply.
  • Tenure-track Assistant Professor in Environmental Social Sciences in The School of Human Evolution and Social Change (SHESC). Arizona State University. Apply by November 17. You get to work with HWISE leadership!
  • Assistant Professor for Sustainability and Equity - Energy and Resources Group/Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. University of California, Berkeley. Apply by December 2.

Upcoming Conferences

The All About Water Conference is being held in Flint, Michigan on October 23, 2019. Register here.


CALL FOR PAPER - WATER Special Issue on Water Security. Prof. Dr. Robert Patrick and Prof. Dr. Arjen Y. Hoekstra seek to amass papers that express the diversity and full breadth of water security, embracing both pragmatic and critical perspectives. Water is fundamental to human life, in fact, for many people, water is life. The security of water supply (quantity) and water quality is a fundamental determinant of human health and survival. Please submit your manuscript to Dr. Robert Patrick,, by October 31, 2019.

GRANT OPPORTUNITY - LASER PULSE initiative, funded by USAID. LASER PULSE is a collaboration among Purdue University, University of Notre Dame, and Catholic Relief Services along with 50 other network partners, and offers opportunities to network and respond to RFPs tied to key challenges in international development.  The research for development (R4D) model is the centerpiece for their multi-year program. The first RFPs ($100K-200K grants) will be open soon for research in Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. Other regions will have other RFPs in the next 18 months. Water security is a major theme, as discussed in the meeting, so our community is well placed to contribute to this project.  In order to work with LASER PULSE, you are invited to register with the network.

FUNDING OPPORTUNITYSolicitation for Private Partnerships for Scaling Small Scale Irrigation - The Feed the Future Innovation lab for small scale Irrigation, seeks private sector partners to contribute to accelerate the scaling of smallholder irrigated production in Ghana and Ethiopia. Partners will implement innovative, market system activities to strengthen irrigation technology supply, finance services, and value chain development while improving inclusivity and supporting environmental sustainability. The total funding is US$1,450,000 for up to 3 years and up to 5 partners. Proposals are due 22 November 2019. For more information, visit:

Recent HWISE Community Publications

Send an email to Amy Truong ( if...

  • You would like to join as an HWISE-RCN Member

  • Have HWISE-related publications you'd like to share with the network

  • If you have any recent events/conferences the network should be aware about

  • Have news, jobs, opportunities, grants, or updates by October 29, 2019.



HWISE-RCN is a community of scholars and practitioners who research and work in the interdisciplinary field of water insecurity. The RCN is an NSF-funded initiative (2018-2023) dedicated to building a community of practice that fosters key analytics and theoretical advances coupled with the development of research protocols and standardized assessments to document, benchmark, and understand the causes and outcomes of water insecurity at the household scale. 

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