Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Re-Inventing America's Urban Water Infrastructure

The Center for Re-Inventing America's Urban Water Infrastructure is an interdisciplinary, multi-institution research center whose goal is to change the ways in which we manage urban water.  The Center is funded through the National Science Foundation's Engineering Research Center Program.  Partner institutions include Stanford University (lead), University of California at Berkeley, Colorado School of Mines, and New Mexico State University.

The research program focuses on fundamental investigations and applied research to create a suite of successful water management options and decision-making tools.

Several specific aims of the research includes the following:
  • To incorporate resource recovery and energy production into engineered water systems.
  • To engineer natural systems to improve water quantity, water quality, and habitat.
  • To overcome impediments to adopting new urban water management strategies.
  • To develop technologies in concert with companies involved in the Center's program.
  • To provide improved decision-making tools to decision makers.
You can break their research focus down into two areas - - engineered systems and natural systems.  In the context of engineered systems, the Center is looking to enhance the efficiency and resiliency of these systems.  The focus in the context of natural systems is to effectively employee them into urban water infrastructure.  Several key terms and words that show up in the Center's literature - - resource recovery, resiliency, and demand management.  These are all good words to help define the issues, constraints, and opportunities as water becomes "the issue" in the 21st century.

Drought management and assessment strategies appear also to be a focus.  On-going collaborations with the University of New South Wales provides the Center with the potential to address research needs in this particular area.

A video on the center is at the following link - - http://urbanwatererc.org/content/introductory-video.

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