Last month, Nevada’s Desert Research Institute (DRI) and the Nevada Center of Excellence announced with China’s Hohai University a plan to address global water pollution and supply issues through a joint international laboratory. Building off of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in August, the partnership will facilitate the annual exchange of academic personnel, water resource research, and joint research funding, in addition to international conferences and publications. Through this partnership, both sides hope to assist private industries with developing technologies to track and mitigate water pollution in “megacities and developing countries.”
DRI has partnered with Hohai University in the past. In 2007, DRI helped launch the Center for Global Change and Water Cycle at Hohai, which is located in Nanjing, China. It was the first research organization of its kind in China to investigate the effects of climate change, land use/land cover change, and desertification of the water cycle. Both this initial partnership and the most recent MOU span from research that DRI conducted on China’s Lake Taihu, the largest freshwater lake in the Yangtze River Delta, which has been plagued by algae blooms caused by run-off pollution.
In addition, DRI has conducted research into air quality issues in China, including those that threaten the famous Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an. In 2003, DRI signed a MOU with the Chinese Academy of Science’s Institute of Earth Environment in Xi’an to explore how indoor air pollutants were adversely affecting the statues on display in the Emperor Qin’s Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum. Since 2005, DRI has worked closely with Chinese scientists to develop ways to preserve these cultural treasures, including hosting Chinese graduate students at its Reno and Las Vegas campuses. In 2013, a replica of a Terra Cotta “General” was donated to DRI to serve as both a thank-you and a daily reminder of the goal the organization is striving towards with its Chinese partners.
Sarah Batiuk is a Program Assistant at the East-West Center in Washington, DC.