Hydrologists Without Borders

Project Title: Water Experts Program
March 2019
U.S. water expert Dr. Mel Laituri participates in a radio interview in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Chris Rich, USWP
U.S. water expert Dr. Mel Laituri participates in a radio interview in Nairobi, Kenya. Credit: Chris Rich, USWP


Working through the public-private U.S. Water Partnership, a public-private organization with the mission of uniting and mobilizing the best of U.S. expertise, resources and ingenuity to address global water challenges in developing countries with the greatest need, the Department of State has deployed American experts on a variety of water related topics to provide technical advice to assist those nations. This program captures the essence of utilizing the best of American water expertise and working through the Global Water Strategy strategic objectives for the sake of a more water-secure world.

The Story

Through a cooperative program with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) has deployed U.S. hydrologists and water experts abroad for short-term consultancies, training programs, and public diplomacy missions. The program, termed by one expert participant as “Hydrologists without Borders,” helps U.S. embassies build cooperation and support for critical water issues in key countries, and has served as a new avenue for U.S. embassies to market U.S. approaches and technologies and engage diplomatically on the U.S. Government Global Water Strategy’s objectives.

The Water Experts Program has sent 15 American experts to work on projects around the world. These experts have worked on improving transboundary water management in the Great Lakes region of Africa, the Sava River Basin in the Balkans, the Lower Mekong River, and Lake Titicaca, bordering Peru and Bolivia, while also assisting groundwater mapping and management in South Asia, southern Africa, Indonesia, and Morocco. They have also supported efforts to assess watersheds in important river systems in Kenya, Ghana, and Indonesia; treat wastewater in Ethiopia; control erosion in the Republic of the Congo; and build drought resilience and study climate change impacts across both northern and southern Africa.

The program has drawn from the best in American expertise from across government, the private sector, academic institutions, and nonprofits. Our partners have included the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy, Colorado State University, the University of Nebraska, San Diego State University, Louisiana State University, the University of Delaware, and AquaStrategies.

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Strategic Objective(S)

Water Resources Management
Governance and Financing
Access to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation
Cooperation on Shared Waters


Provide technical assistance
Promote science, technology, innovation, and information
Engage diplomatically
Strengthen partnerships, intergovernmental organizations, and the international community