Faisal Hossain: Bringing Freshwater Research to Video

University of Washington Civil & Environmental Engineering faculty Faisal Hossain

Associate Professor Faisal Hossain.

Associate Professor Faisal Hossain received a Global Innovation Fund Award for an interdisciplinary project that will utilize videos to tell the story of real-world water management challenges in the Mekong Region of Southeast Asia. The objective is to increase awareness about freshwater challenges around the world.

“Our goal is to tell multi-media savvy stories of the great research we do in addressing freshwater challenges,” said Hossain, who directs the Sustainability, Satellites, Water and Environment research group.

The project leverages the expertise of three UW departments: Civil Engineering, Aquatic & Fishery Sciences and UW Video. The funding will be used to host researchers from Southeast Asia as well as send UW researchers, together with a videographer, to Southeast Asia. In both instances, footage will be captured of UW faculty and students conducting research, interacting with stakeholders and implementing solutions.

Research related to UW’s Freshwater Initiative is currently underway by Hossain and co-PI Gordon Holtgrieve, assistant professor in Aquatic & Fishery Sciences. The majority of their research in this region is related to hydropower, dams, fisheries and water management.

The Mekong Region of Southeast Asia is home to the Mekong River, the 12th longest river in the world, which runs through five countries: China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The emerging freshwater challenges in this region are related to hydropolitics, also known as water politics, where political decisions made by leaders in the various countries end up impacting the availability of water.

“The issues are made worse by more dam building in an uncoordinated manner by each nation,” Hossain said. “This is expected to negatively impact the livelihood for some, related to fisheries.”

Once the 2-3 minute videos are created, the plan is to distribute them freely. The video project builds on Hossain’s expertise creating documentaries. His third movie, “Cotton, Burgers and Water,” will be released in early 2017.

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