Thrust Areas for Research, Education, and Outreach

Research, Education, and Outreach thrust areas are thematic cross-cutting initiatives around which the Water Institute Affiliate Faculty joins forces to achieve Water Institute goals. Thrust areas provide broad outlines of emphasis areas rather than narrow definitions of the Institute and represent areas in which interdisciplinary collaboration is likely to produce significant progress. Thrust areas are determined through an ongoing process which reflects current interests of Water Institute Affiliate Faculty and Stakeholders.

Water Institute Thrust Areas

Water, Land Use and Ecosystems

    Develop basic understanding needed to inform programs and policies to reduce human impact on water quantity, water quality and ecosystem function, for example:
  • Linkages among terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems including springs, rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries and coastal zones;
  • Impacts of land use/land management change and water use/water management change on environmental flows, water quality and aquatic ecosystems; and
  • Public willingness to pay for, and producer willingness to accept, innovative water and land management incentive and regulatory programs to protect aquatic ecosystems.
Water and Climate
    Develop and improve predictive tools that reduce risk and increase resilience of agricultural, industrial, and public water supplies and environmental flows to stressors such as:
  • Climate cycles such as El NiƱo Southern Oscillation and Multidecadal Oscillations;
  • Future increases in temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns;
  • Sea-level rise; and
  • Extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, and hurricanes.
Food, Energy and Water
    Catalyze well-integrated interdisciplinary research at the food-energy-water nexus to provide for a growing demand for food, water and energy while maintaining appropriate ecosystem services, for example:
  • Real-time monitoring sensor networks with cyber-enabled interfaces that increase decision-support capability from real-time to decadal time scales;
  • Innovative system and technological solutions such as energy-efficient water treatment processes, improved nutrient and irrigation management technologies, alternative crops and cropping systems with improved nutrient and water-use efficiencies, and next-generation urban and agricultural Best Management Practices; and
  • Computational modeling platforms to elucidate the economic, food and water security, and ecological tradeoffs of alternative water and energy policies and practices from local to global scales.

Water Resources Sustainability
  • Development of alternative water supplies and storage
  • Water treatment, wastewater treatment, groundwater remediation
  • Water quality protection, management of groundwater recharge areas
  • Water conservation, reuse, demand management
Water and Society
  • Water policy and law
  • Water marketing and pricing
  • Public health