Water Institute receives Wells Fargo funding to map climate change vulnerability

March 6, 2014

A new two-year grant from Wells Fargo and Company will allow The Water Institute at UNC to continue essential work related to climate change.

Dr. Jamie Bartram, left, accepts Wells Fargo's grant for The Water Institute's work on climate change.

Dr. Jamie Bartram, left, accepts Wells Fargo’s grant for The Water Institute’s work on climate change from Kyle Button, relationship manager for Wells Fargo’s clean technology group.

The grant, announced March 6 at the Institute’s Nexus 2014: Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference, provides continued funding for the Institute to examine drinking water and sewage systems in the U.S. to determine the systems’ vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather. Wells Fargo has supported the Institute’s efforts in this regard since 2012.

The new funding helped the Institute launch the Nexus Conference, which has brought together global leaders in government, academia, nongovernmental organizations and business to discuss the world’s growing demand for energy, food and water in a changing climate. The event is being held March 5-8 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

The $275,000 grant also enables the Institute to continue its assessment of the vulnerability of municipal water systems in the United States.

“Our partnership with Wells Fargo will allow us to help utilities plan for and better adapt to extreme weather,” said Jamie Bartram, PhD, director of the Water Institute at UNC and Don and Jennifer Holzworth Distinguished Professor of environmental sciences and engineering at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health. “Our mapping will help utilities decrease their vulnerability and maintain vital services in extreme conditions.”

Jack Clayton, regional president of Triangle East Community Banking for Wells Fargo, said his organization was proud to continue support of the Institute.

“It is our belief that there is a strong link between economic development, community well-being, and the stewardship and health of the environment,” Clayton said. “We recognize that our environmental impact goes beyond how we operate. As a financial services company, we can influence positive change by strengthening our environmental leadership.”

About The Water Institute at UNC
The vision of The Water Institute at UNC is to bring together individuals and institutions from diverse disciplines and sectors and, through academic leadership, empower them to work together to solve the most critical global issues in water and health. The Water Institute focuses on the interfaces between water, health and development. Its leaders build sustained, effective partnerships between government, industry, civil society and academia, and partners with the best and most committed organizations and individuals. Based in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, The Water Institute is at the forefront of UNC-Chapel Hill’s cross-campus commitment to water as an issue vital to public health and human development. The Institute builds capacity and stimulates innovation through research, teaching, networking and public service. For more information, visit www.waterinstitute.unc.edu.

About Wells Fargo
Since 2012, Wells Fargo has provided more than $12 billion in environmental finance, supporting sustainable buildings and renewable energy projects nationwide. A leader in reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and building sustainably, Wells Fargo has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the U.S. Green Building Council. The company was ranked 35th on Fortune magazine’s 2014 listing of America’s most admired corporations. For more information, visit www.wellsfargo.com/environment.

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.