Phase 2: Finding Helpful Resources

Updated 6 years 10 months ago

An important part of research is finding helpful resources. I think I could use keywords like : Water Treatment; Yunnan; Erhai Lake; Algae Bloom; Water Recycling; Irrigation System; Water Grade; Wastewater Treatment Rural China; while doing an online search using a search engine such as Google.

In order to ensure that the information is valid, it would be smart to look at WHO wrote/published the article or fact. Also, websites that end in .gov .org .edu are probably trustable. I have checked the date to make sure the information isn't too old, and matched facts with multiple sources. Although most articles name the author/publisher, you can also check the citations in order to be sure.

I was required to choose 3 experts to reach out to:

1. The first of my experts is a Professor at Fudan University ( ) I chose him because he has been Head of the Fudan University Basin Pollution Control Research Centre since 2009, presided over the 863 project "Countryside Sewage Treatment Technologies and Project Demonstration," and has done research on rural sewage treatment in many provinces (INCLUDING YUNNAN.)

This is his Contact Information:

220 Handan Road, Yangpy District, Shanghai 200433

Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University

Phone: 021-65643342; 13482591073 Email:

2. My next expert will be Alasdair Cohen, a PHD candidate at UC Berkely Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management. His previous education includes Ms.Sc. Water Science, policy and Management from the University of Oxford. I chose him for a slightly more international view of the situation in China, and because his current research is situated in the field of Global Environmental Health with a focus on water and sanitation. Specifically water quality and drinking water treatment in poor rural areas of "developing countries." Geographically his focus is rural China.

His contact information is: Email:

3. My third expert will be Dr. Anna Lora-Wainwright, a Univesity Lecturer in the Human Geography of China, who recently joined School of Geography and the Environment in September 2009. I chose her because her work focuses on environmental pollution, development and health in the Chinese countryside. She has carried out a total of 18 months of fieldwork in Southwest China (including Yunnan Province.) She has written two articles in the leading journals The Journal of Contemporary China (2010) and Social Anthropology (2009), which "unpack the relationship between farmers' agency and the perceived connection between illness and water pollution in rural China.

Her Contact information:

Telephone: +44 (0) 1865 275857       Email:

I also emailed multiple other contacts including Dr. David Sutton, President of The Anteaus Organization (TAO) who has "developed socially and environmentally responsible educational programs and ecological approaches to product design, conservation, sustainable development, and integral health efforts throughout the world for over twenty years" Source: 

His contact information is:

Telephone: 1-333-180-7270


Here is a sample of one of my messages to the experts:


My name is Natalie ___ and I am a student in Shanghai American School. I recently got into a student program called "Microcampus" where we will be staying in Yunnan for a month starting April 20 to research a specific chosen topic. My topic is water-treatment in Yunnan, and I would like to focus on delving into gaining a better understanding of how water is recycled in Xizhou, or where local people get their water, how polluted it is, and what possible benefits or disadvantages the water in Xizhou has for the human body. My interest also mostly lies in how wastewater is recycled or gotten rid of in the small rural town in China, and possible improvements that could be made for the wellbeing of the town's citizens

I chose Water Treatment as my inquiry project topic because I was curious about the LONG drought in Yunnan (according to research 30 years in a row and still hasn't ended.) I was really wondering about how the province would deal with getting water to people and treating it. This topic is important to me because it is one of the topics that mentions a current problem occurring in Yunnan and -being an Model United Nations delegate- I have a huge interest in looking into current issues. ECOSOC- Economics and Social Council- the committee i was in while attending conference i just returned from, debated two good resolutions on addressing the East African Drought. I found the topic really interesting and would love to look into the topic but in Yunnan. I plan to look into how the government spreads water, the waters origin, filtering systems, and preservation. I also wish to delve into how water is or could be "recycled," or where the wastewater goes.

Through research I have discovered that you are an expert in this field and I would really appreciate your aid in my studies. I understand that you have been Head of the Fudan University Basin Pollution Control and Research Centre since 2009, presided over the 863 project "Countryside Sewage Treatment Technologies and Project Demonstration," and have done research on rural sewage treatment in many provinces including Yunnan. 

I have generated some pre-trip questions including those below some which shall require further research and others just a local's knowledge:

1. Where does drinking water and "washing" water come from?

2. How clean is that water?

3. Where does the waste water from a house go to?

4. What grade is the water in Xizhou?

5. Are there any health "effects" related to the water consumed?

6. How is water filtered? Is it filtered?

7. What do locals do to prepare drinking water? Is there anything special?

8. What happened to the algae blooms? How did Xizhou react? 

9. Was Xizhou affected by the long drought in Yunnan? 

10. Are there plans of how to distribute water if there IS a drought?

11. What more modern ways of recycling wastewater could be brought to small rural towns/villages like Xizhou to better citizens lives?

Here is a link to my workspace where you can view further discoveries or current background research over the upcoming span of one month.

I realize you must be really busy and might not have time to help me, but I would really appreciate any help you could offer.

Thank you for your time.


Natalie ___.

My first 3-5 was with Erin and Xiao Tang. I asked whether she knew of where water we used at Yangzhouren (like for showers, washing dishes, etc.) Her response was that used water probably went to the "water treatment plant near the Linden Centre." I also asked about the Virginia Tech people who were previous guests that came to Xizhou to test the water quality here. Sadly, she told me that they didn't have enough time to get too much information, and that nothing had been published yet. However she said she would ask for their contact information. Xiao Tang was very helpful, suggesting that we go to the Linden Centre during work hours to ask people working there about where their water came from. She also suggested a book "XiZhouZhi" which we found in the Linden Centre Library. I chose Xiao Tang because she seemed like a great place to start my 3-5s, she is very knowledgable about the area here and was a great help. 

Later on, Erin and I took a short bike ride over to check out the water plant and sadly we found the gates locked closed on a tuesday afternoon :O we then cycled to the Linden Centre to pick up the book and learned that Frank could help us arrange a time to get into the water plant. Working on that! 

The other two 3-5's I had were also with Erin when we visited the Linden Centre recently this past Thursday afternoon. We cycled over and got a chance to talk to one of the guards called Mr. Yang. He told us the water at the Linden Centre came from underground water that was pumped up from a water plant "up" towards the mountains. It was apparently quite far away, and he seemed very confident that groundwater in Xizhou, without a doubt, was very clean, and uncontaminated. When asked where the used water from (for example) a shower at the Linden Centre went to, Mr. Yang explained that most of it went to the Water Treatment Plant close by, and some of that probably ended up recycled through irrigation of the fields. Erin asked him what impacts he thought Lake Erhai had on Xizhou, and his reply was how lake Erhai helped regulate the climate in Xizhou, and used to provide drinking water for locals around the lake. He talked of how nowadays, water was too contaminated and there were too many people around the lake to continue drinking the water. He said the Lake was ruined by too much of the chemical "P" (Phosphorous) Mr. Yang talked of how toilets in the olden days were less sanitary but far more eco-friendly. He complained that although more modern toilets are thought of to be far more clean and hygienic, they were actually contaminating the precious groundwater. Erin and I chose Mr. Yang the guard at the Linden Centre because one of the receptionists directed us to him, as he was quite knowledgable about the Linden Centre water.

We also got to talk to Frank He. He called himself almost like the " Government in Xizhou," and was very kind about helping us. He helped us arrange our first entry into the Water Treatment Plant for the upcoming Monday at 2pm (29th April,) and Erin and I really appreciate his help. He told us the best people to talk to would be at the Water Treatment Plant as they would be experts on the specifics around Xizhou. He was also kind enough to walk with us to a popular well near the Linden Centre. When we went, we saw an older man who claimed with confidence, that the water underground was the "best water in Yunnan" and that it was better than any mineral water you could find. He was filling this huge plastic water barrel with the clear water. Something that shocked me was that the water was flowing out of a tap. and the pipe from the tap went vertically up around 2 and a half meters. How could well-water go so high? When asked the man simply said - the well water flows out from this tap. My guess is that it was probably pumped. Apparently, this well/tap was built by the military in the 1900s. Frank asked the man how deep he thought the well was and he said around 60-70 meters. That's really deep!!! Frank was also really nice to give us Dr. Sutton- a Stanford researcher based in Shanghai who had interest in sustainable development-'s email. I chose Frank as one of my 3-5's because he has many connections in Xizhou and was very kind to help us.

I will also be looking at the Linden Centre Library and I think topics like : Water treatment; Lake Erhai; Sustainable Development; Water Contamination; Groundwater; or books possibly about the nearby mountain ranges because that is where lots of the water originates from.

I'm Natalie! 14 and Californian ✌ Love exercise, fruits, food in general, chocolate, and Xizhou! Missing microcampus so much :) The trip was amazing~! I feel like after coming home I sometimes doubted my love for the city, and craved the fresh, clean, air, delicious food, and kind people. I'm really looking forward to hearing about all the exciting things the D-group do :) I know they have a great trip and chance for personal growth ahead of them!