News & Resources

Featured Faculty: Bill Deutsch, Watersheds in Global Development

Posted by Paul Wiemerslage | Jan 05, 2015

Bill Deutsch is the founder of Global Water Watch (GWW), a community-based water quality monitoring program based at the Auburn University (AU) Water Resources Center. He has taught the principles and practices of community-based water quality monitoring via nearly 100 trips to 20 countries, including the Philippines, Mexico and Kenya. He has worked with many governmental agencies and non-profit organizations, including USAID, USDA, USEPA, Heifer International, and the Green Belt Movement.

Bill was a Research Fellow at the AU, School of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Aquatic Environments for 25 years. He has degrees in zoology (B.S., Houghton College), anthropology (B.A., Bloomsburg University), biology (M.A., State University of New York at Binghamton), and aquatic ecology (Ph.D. and postdoc, AU). Bill was named Alabama’s Water Conservationist of the Year in 2011, and given Emeritus status at AU upon his retirement in 2013. He now works part-time on water-related projects at AU and through the nonprofit organization, GWW, Inc.

He teaches Watersheds in Global Development at Au Sable Great Lakes, a course in which students receive certificates from the USEPA Watershed Academy and Global Water Watch. Bill notes that,

It’s a privilege to teach students from the Christian College community about water and watersheds. When a student at Houghton College in 1970, I took my first ecology course and participated in the first Earth Day. These events and the personal mentoring from caring faculty changed my life and set my professional track. My goal at ASI is to share my knowledge and worldwide experiences to help a new generation of Christians discover the vital links between healthy watersheds and human development as God intended.

Students who have taken Bill’s course have found it a fascinating study, and even a transformational experience. Former student Jonathan Naritoku of Biola University (California) recalled, "Bill is a kind and loving man who loves both God and the environment and uses his skills to help educate us on the story that water shows us. We always had a part of the class where we got to be at rivers and creeks and it was always a joy to be able to spend time out in the field. Plus, his stories show the practicality of what you learn and they are fun to listen to as well."

Watersheds in Global Development offers a variety of opportunities for students to learn how a scientific understanding of water resources must be integrated with cultural, political and ethical dimensions to create clean water supplies and healthy environments throughout the world. These concepts are relevant for those working in international development, missions and government agencies in the U.S. or abroad.

You can watch a presentation by Bill Deutsch at Au Sable's 2013 'Missionary Earthkeeping' conference on his water quality monitoring work and how it's impacted areas around the world (Deutsch's presentation begins at the 20:50 mark):