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Katie Meehan named to Fulbright Nexus scholars list

Professor Meehan has been named a Fulbright Nexus Regional Scholar for 2014-1016. This program selects twenty distinguished scholars to conduct individual research and participate in group discussions on climate change. The group then ends the two-year collaboration with a meeting in Washington DC where they share the policy-relevant results of their research.

Professor Meehan will be using this award to continue her research on social and behavioral adaptation to climate change in Mexico. Her research has focused on rainwater harvesting in Mexico City and examining why and how people conduct rainwater harvesting, including some of the technologies that have been developed. But she also focuses on the factors that challenge wider-scale adoption of these practices, especially in the context of urban migration and the inability of the government to provide adequate water.

This work has implications closer to home, too, especially in the context of the drought that the Western United States is currently experiencing. Professor Meehan argues that even places that are plugged into large-scale water grids should have alternative supply capabilities in place. It is possible that the US could learn about the mix of large and small-scale water supply systems that people rely on in places like Mexico City.

Professor Meehan hopes to develop a system where water quality can be tracked through cell phone technologies. She travelled to Brasilia, Brazil, in August to meet with the nineteen other members of her program, and she will be making research trips to Mexico City throughout her Fellowship.