Fieldwork Forms Connections for USPCASW Students

The U Water Center recently sent well-wishes back to Pakistan along with its second largest USPCASW group to date. 17 visiting scholars spent the Spring 2018 semester on campus and in the community studying water management in the Mountain West. This exchange aspect of the program continues to be a hallmark of USPCASW, offering students amazing opportunities both in technical learning as well as cultural experiences.

Vengus Panhwar and Qandeel Khan examine the tunnel wall of a mine near Snowbird, Utah that has been converted to a water storage reservoir and treatment plant.

“This exchange program helped me to broaden my understanding. It gave me an opportunity to know about the water-related problems here in Utah, and to relate them with those in Pakistan. The measures taken here to ensure water security can be replicated in Pakistan. I am hopeful that I will be able to use my learning to improve the water sector of my country in (the) future,” said Vengus Panhwar.

Getting students into the field and interacting with water professionals in the region is a highlight of the exchange experience. Field trips this semester included the Jordanelle Reservoir and Hydropower plant, two drinking water treatment plants, the National Weather Service, the Jordan River, and a combined cultural/research visit to Moab, Utah and Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa along the Dolores River.

Spring 2018 Exchange students at the U’s Bonderman Field Station at Rio Mesa.

This semester, the focus of these field trips was refined under the theme of “Experiential Learning,” with an increased focus on building context around each site and how all locations are linked. Over the course of the semester, students traced water from storage to drinking water treatment, through policy and, eventually, to sewage treatment. Seeing how all of these field trips sites combine to create our water system–and coupling that experience with related seminar speakers–fully engaged the students and illustrated that knowledge of the full system is important across disciplines.

Students learn more about the Jordanelle Dam Hydroelectric Project’s turbines and temperature controls.

“This visit opens new avenues for me to explore. My research questions have been modified, I have revised my whole research work and (am) now looking (at) the same problem with a different perspective,” said Zia Uddin.

USPCASW Spring 2018 Exchange students visit a drinking water treatment plant.