RICHLAND, Wash. – After growing up in drought-afflicted Ethiopia, Yonas Demissie values water. His research to manage the life-sustaining resource reaches from the U.S. military to the Nile River basin, from Washington’s Hanford nuclear site to biofuels crops and the Gulf of Mexico.
“Here in the U.S., we take water for granted,” said Demissie, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Washington State University Tri-Cities. “Our daily water use is as much as 10 times that of a person in other countries where water is in limited supply” – in Ethiopia, for example, where just 42 percent of the country’s 94 million people have access to clean water.
“Having a good understanding of water as a resource and coming up with a better management strategy is critical for most societies,” he said.