We are Water Scientists. Ask us anything!

Do you have safe drinking water questions?
We are scientists ask us anything! 

@labxNAS hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit 4/3 


A panel of diverse water science professionals answered questions about all things related to drinking water. Over 5,500 people participated.

Water is a ubiquitous phenomenon! But its visual abundance—from its constant flow out of taps and fountains to the immensity of our oceans—can mask the fact that 1 in 7 people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water (that’s over 1 billion people!). Furthermore, in places like New Orleans or The Netherlands, water can seem like an impending threat without the proper means to safely contain it, or productively incorporate it into our daily lives. The broader water/society interface raises questions about drinking water’s vulnerability to climate change and society’s vulnerability to aging infrastructure for adequate and safe sourcing, treatment, and distribution.

girl with water bottle
Will climate change and aging infrastructure limit our access to safe drinking water?

Poor drinking water quality can result from pollution from sources such as industrial waste, agricultural runoff, corrosion of lead from distribution pipes, or treatment facility contamination by man-made materials such as polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Emerging innovations in grey/green infrastructure, stewardship programs to reduce contaminants, desalination technology, and international efforts to increase access to safe water on a global scale, might help preserve and increase Earth’s water supply and society’s value of it. All of these issues, and more, are on our collective radar and we enjoyed discussing them with you. You can view the discussion here: https://bit.ly/2VdiFtD

boy drinking water with hands

For more background info see our website Safe Drinking Water is Essential.


1> Will Logan is currently the Director at the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), which is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Previously, Will was the Science Attaché for the U.S. Mission to UNESCO and he served for almost a decade on the Water, Science, and Technology Board at the National Academies of Sciences. Will holds a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences/Hydro-geology from Waterloo University and was an Assistant Professor of Hydro-geology at George Washington University.

2> Teddi Ann Galligan is a community science educator. She draws from firsthand experience living in conditions where safe drinking water was a daily issue, as well as substantial laboratory experience, which includes wastewater analysis for a sustainable sanitation digestion technology, water quality analysis, and clinical laboratory work in low-resource settings. Currently Director of Covalence Science Education, Ms. Galligan has designed and delivered hands-on programs in a wide variety of environments, ranging from classrooms in the United States to open-air community science workshops in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Teddi Ann was an educator and consultant at the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences for more than a decade, helping visitors use science to address real world community resilience issues associated with climate change.

3> Jin Shin is currently the Water Quality Division Manager at WSSC (Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission), where he has worked for nearly 15 years. The WSSC is one of the largest water and wastewater utilities in the nation, with a service area that spans nearly 1,000 square miles in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland. Jin holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from John Hopkins University, where he was also a lecturer and visiting professor for 6 years.

2> Ellen de Guzman is currently the Senior Water Officer in the Middle East and North Africa Bureau at USAID. Ellen has managed projects spanning rural reconstruction, humanitarian and disaster response, alternative livelihoods, food security, agriculture, water and sanitation. Prior to USAID, Ellen worked for the National Academies of Sciences, where she provided policy research support to develop federal policies on managing subsurface water contamination, the Clean Water Act, sustainable water and environmental management in the California Bay-Delta, and invasive species in ballast water.

Please read our Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything).