water policy

100 Water Heroes: Dr. Sharon Megdal

Photo: Kelvin Trautman

Photo: Kelvin Trautman

Director of the University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center

Dr. Sharon Megdal is the Director of the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) at the University of Arizona, a research unit within in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Sharon’s research centres on regional and international water policy and water resource management issues and solutions. In addition to her role as Director of WRRC, Sharon holds a number of prestigious positions at the university, including Director of the Water Sustainability Programme and the Co-Director of The University of Arizona Water, Environmental and Energy Solutions Program.

During the final USA leg of #RunningDry, Mina was able to meet Sharon and learn about her work with WRRC. Sharon said that she works as a bridge between researchers and the real world. Much of her work has focused on the Colorado River, and one of the predominant issues she highlighted was the fact that it has been largely over-allocated.

The general health of the Colorado River is of great importance to Arizona, as it accounts for approximately 40% of the water used in the state, and most of the drinking water used daily in the Tucson metro area. Sharon noted the absolute necessity of cutting back on the delivery of water from the Colorado River, particularly because of issues surrounding over-allocation and the ongoing drought.

Sharon also spoke to Mina about the Sweetwater Wetlands project, which is part of the City of Tucson’s reclaimed water system that provides non-potable water to use primarily for turf irrigation. The area is a popular urban wildlife habitat and riparian zone, and is one of many ways that the city and state is looking to offer alternative sources of water rather than relying on the dwindling Colorado River.

Sharon is one of our #100WaterHeroes for the impactful work she has done in the fields of water policy and management, and for successfully leading the Water Resources Research Center.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sharon-megdal-30412215

100 Water Heroes: Gary Woodard


Water Policy & Economics Consultant at Montgomery and Associates

Gary Woodard is a Senior Water Policy and Economics Consultant at Montgomery & Associates, a company that focuses largely on hydrology, geology, soil science, water resource planning and groundwater modelling.

A large part of Gary’s work involves leading a 3-year-long study that seeks to unpack how effective the city of Tucson’s rainwater harvesting subsidies have been. Having completed the first year of this study, Gary has noted that “the first year of data gathering confirms that residential rainwater harvesting has reduced the city’s overall potable water demand” (Weiser, 2018).

Gary has been a great asset to the water sector, and has dealt with water issues as both an academic and a consultant for over 30 years. Prior to his work with Montgomery & Associates, Gary was the Deputy Director of the University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center. Additionally, he founded a water conservation alliance and was president of Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR). Gary has also worked closely with UNESCO water centres throughout the world, namely in the Middle East and North Africa.

Gary is one of our #100WaterHeroes for his significant contributions to addressing issues within the water sector, both as an academic and a consultant.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/gary-woodard-646b2550

100 Water Heroes: Sanjay Wijesekera

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0010/Markisz

© UNICEF/NYHQ2012-0010/Markisz

Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Associate Director of Programmes at UNICEF

Sanjay Wijesekera is the Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Associate Director of Programmes at UNICEF, where he provides strategic leadership and oversight of UNICEF’s WASH programmes.

Prior to joining UNICEF in 2011, Sanjay worked for the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) where he was in charge of leading their policy and international programmes related to the water and sanitation Millennium Development Goals. His work with DFID also included being an infrastructure advisor in Ghana, where he assisted in the coordination of a Joint Assistance Strategy for donors. He was also the main donor representative for the water industry during this time.

Sanjay’s experience in the water sector also includes his work with the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in South Africa, during which he helped local governments to adequately deliver water and sanitation services, as well as assisting in the regulation of public and private sector service providers.

Sanjay is one of our #100WaterHeroes for devoting his career to highlighting, and finding solutions to, the global water, sanitation and hygiene crisis.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sanjay-wijesekera-1922b598

Twitter: @SanjayWash

100 Water Heroes: Karma Loveday


Water Policy Advisor and Founder & Editor of The Water Report

Karma Loveday is a respected Water Policy Advisor and Journalist in the water industry. Her passion for writing about emergent water issues led Karma to found The Water Report, a monthly publication that focuses on the UK water and sewerage sector. Using rigorous research and reports, The Water Report unpacks various local issues surrounding water policy and regulation.

Karma is a well-established voice in the water sector, and has spent more than 19 years researching and writing about the industry. Prior to this, Karma obtained a Bachelor of Arts from King’s College London, and continued on to become a Senior Reporter for Water Services Magazine and Water and Environment International magazine.

Karma is also the Chairperson of the Major Energy Users' Council (MEUC) Water Competition Group and Water Market Policy Group. In addition to chairing these groups, Karma provides a monthly bulletin to all members of MEUC, detailing current water issues in the sector.

Karma is one of our #100WaterHeroes for tirelessly researching and writing about water issues in the UK, and for using her voice to spread awareness of the global water crisis.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/karma-loveday-5bb607110

Twitter: @KarmaOckenden 

100 Water Heroes: Dr. Sara Ahmed


Gender and Water Policy Specialist

Dr. Sara Ahmed is a Gender and Water Policy Specialist, with close to 30 years of applied research experience on water, livelihoods and social equity. Sara is an Adjunct Professor at Ahmedabad University where she is pioneering their digital water museum, and “engaging young students, local communities and diverse professionals from the water sector, history, architecture and the arts to document our water heritage through visual narratives.” Sara is also currently on the board of WaterAid India.

Prior to this, Sara attained a Phd in Social and Political Sciences and an MPhil in International Relations from the University of Cambridge. Sara worked as a Senior Program Specialist for the International Development Research Centre (IRDC) in Asia, managing research portfolios on water, food security and climate change. In 2012, she co-edited a book entitled Diverting the Flow: Gender, Equity and Water in South Asia; one of her many publications exploring issues of gender and water management.

Dr. Sara Ahmed is one of our #100WaterHeroes because of her experience in the water sector, and her focus on the intersection of water, climate change and gender.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sara-ahmed-5855765

100 Water Heroes: Nicci Russell

Managing Director of Waterwise


Our fourth Water Hero, Nicci Russell, is the Managing Director of Waterwise, an independent, non-profit NGO in the UK whose mission is to reduce water consumption throughout the UK. Waterwise is a particularly impactful organisation in that it encourages innovative water-saving behaviour amongst governments, industry and citizens alike. Waterwise is widely considered a “leading authority on water efficiency in the UK,” with their work including research, technological and policy innovation, as well as media and events.

Prior to her role as Managing Director, Nicci was Policy Director and co-founder of Waterwise from 2005. Beyond her work with Waterwise, Nicci also served as special advisor for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for four years.

Martin Bradbury, chair of Waterwise, describes Nicci as “a highly respected leader in the water sector, with in-depth knowledge and experience.”

Nicci Russell is one of our #100WaterHeroes because of her work with Waterwise and her overall dedication to significantly reducing water consumption throughout the UK.





London, England

100 Water Heroes: Seth M. Siegel

Water activist, author and speaker

Seth M. Siegel.png

Seth M. Siegel believes that together, we can solve the world’s water problems. He is a water activist, author, and campaigner for change in water policy in the US and around the world.

After training as a lawyer, Seth pursued a business career and subsequently sold the company he co-founded to Ford Motor Company. He has since spent most of his time on community service, while helping to incubate companies in fields as diverse as financial services, real estate brokerage and digital entertainment. But his heart belongs to water.

Seth’s award-winning, international bestseller Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World speaks to this passion, as does the book he’s currently working on, about the widespread contamination of America’s drinking water, and how to improve it.

Seth M. Siegel is one of our #100waterheroes because of his solution-based emphasis on the global water crisis.

Twitter: @SethMSiegel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sethmsiegel/


New York City, USA