Fontaine to Speak at U.N. Water Conference

Nicolas Fontaine, a project engineer in HDR's San Diego office, has been selected to make a presentation on technical, cultural, and personal challenges in clean water projects to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's International Conference on Water Scarcity, Global Changes, and Groundwater Management Responses.

The conference, which will cover a variety of water topics including availability and quality, will be held Dec. 1-5 at the University of California-Irvine.

Between 400 and 600 people are expected to attend, including Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and United Nations delegates. Fontaine's presentation will focus on cultural challenges inherent in the planning and implementation of clean water projects.

In July 2006, Fontaine was working with the volunteer organization, Engineers Without Borders, in a village on the southeast coast of Andhra Pradesh, India that was hit by the 2004 tsunami. The team, which also included HDR's Eric Scherch, was charged with constructing a reliable water supply and distribution system for a community whose water sources were contaminated with salt water and a variety of bacteria and chemical contaminants.

Fontaine's presentation will explore the challenges the group faced and offer suggestions that could improve the particular model of aid that was used.

For information about the conference, visit waterunifies.com.

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