2nd UF Water Institute Symposium

The 2nd biennial UF Water Institute Symposium provided a unique forum to tackle major challenges to water resource sustainability at local, regional, state, national and global levels. The Symposium offered plenty of food for thought to satisfy all interested in science, technology, policy and educational issues that will significantly impact water sustainability and affect future research, education, policy, and management agendas. With over 450 participants representing a range of disciplines, professions, interests and experience in sustainable water resources, there were a range of topics and activities from which to choose. Over the two day period there was a buzz of science, policy, education, art, and music around water issues as participants engaged in presentations, posters, panel discussions and networking. Organized around the following five interdisciplinary areas, there were 18 concurrent sessions with a total of over 70 presentations, 110 posters and 8 panel discussions.

Hydrologic, biogeochemical, and ecological processes

Effective management, wise use, meaningful policy, and conservation of water relies on a strong scientific foundation. This foundation is built on the findings from fundamental scientific inquiry in the fields of hydrology, hydrogeology, biogeochemistry, ecology, and related disciplines. Integrative, cross-disciplinary investigations, empirical studies, synthetic work, and modeling all play important roles establishing a sound information base on water and water resources. This session addresses important advances in the scientific understanding of hydrology, biogeochemistry, and ecology of water and aquatic systems:

Coupled hydrologic and biogeochemical cycles
Scientific foundation for establishing numeric criteria for nutrients in Florida waters
Ecological responses to hydrologic and water quality changes
Ecosystem restoration
Urban ecology and hydrology
Emerging contaminants in the environment
Integrated modeling of hydrologic, biogechemical and ecological processes

Human dimensions of water sustainability: Communication, Conflict and Control

Understanding decision-making processes and consequences in light of the number and diversity of water stakeholders and institutions remains a significant challenge. Water availability, water quality, and ecological impacts are influenced by, and also affect, decisions of diverse stakeholders across individual, community, informal and formal institutional scales. Understanding individual behaviors and decision-making processes and the influences of education and outreach is key to sustainable water use. This session will explore perceptions, attitudes, values and behaviors of individuals and the role and distribution of power among stakeholder groups and how such factors drive conflicts and influence opportunities concerning water. Topics will span valuing water, water conflicts and integrated decision making, public knowledge, attitudes and actions for watershed management, and science education and communication for water sustainability:

Valuing water for urban, agricultural and ecosystem use and services

Valuing water based livelihoods in florida
Water pricing
Competing use – water allocation mechanisms (market, administrative, policy, regulations)

Water conflicts and integrated decision making

Dealing with uncertainty and risk in decision-making
Public participation in decision making
Understanding and resolving conflict in water use and management
Ownership and control of water
Water education for policy-makers, law makers

Public knowledge, attitudes and actions for watershed management

Advocacy and outreach, citizen-based initiatives and collaborative networks
Case studies/ models for changing public attitudes and practices
Community based social marketing
K-12 water science education
Florida ecosystems: Understanding N, P, and S biogeochemical dynamics within springs, streams, lakes, wetlands, and estuaries/coasts
Ecosystem interactions: Pathways and transformations of nutrients along freshwater – estuarine gradients
Hydrologic influence: Effects of changes in upstream hydrologic modifications and nutrient storages on receiving water bodies
Stream and spring assessments: Challenges of nutrient considerations in determining downstream protection
Wetland restoration: Water quality constraints on increasing water flows in both large- and small- scale wetland systems
Budget and simulation models: Synthesis of existing and future nutrient fluxes within and among Florida ecosystems
Case studies of lessons learned in restoring Florida ecosystems

Optimal use of integrated water supplies

Maintaining a balance between agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial supply and demand is a challenge to sustainable water resources. Maintaining reliable water supplies given regulatory uncertainty, competing uses of groundwater and surface water, and water source uncertainty due to climate variability is a growing challenge. An integrated approach that considers ground, surface and alternative water sources including conservation, demand management, desalination and reuse is needed. This session addresses the benefits, as well as the technical, social and legal challenges, to holistic management of the integrated water supply systems that are needed for sustainability.

Conservation and demand management

Opportunities and barriers to demand management/conservation
Quantifying effectiveness of low impact development (LID) in new developments and retrofits
Quantifying effectiveness of water conservation technologies and demand side management programs in public supply, agriculture and industry
Water-use efficiencies among all water supply sectors

Conjunctive management of traditional and alternative water supplies (surface, ground, desalinated, reclaimed, conservation)

Development of regulatory framework for conjunctive use of surface and groundwater
Managing across wet and dry times: surface water and reclaimed storage with ASR, regional reservoirs, local impoundments
Climate variability, the uncertainty of future supplies, and conjunctive use as an adaptive management strategy
Reuse of wastewater effluent: Irrigation, recharge, indirect potable supply

Managing water and energy in a transitioning environment

Climate variability, energy production and demand, population growth and migration, and land-use changes lead to significant changes in terrestrial freshwater availability. Over longer time scales, climate change is likely to further reduce freshwater availability due to changes in precipitation patterns causing reduced freshwater residence times in the terrestrial system, and sea level rise causing saltwater intrusion into coastal rivers and aquifers. Management and decision making within a sustainability context requires scientific information that is innovative, integrative, policy-relevant, and evidence-based. This session will consider ways to address the management of water in this challenging situation.

Climate change, land use change and the uncertainty of future supplies
Down-scaling IPCC climate scenarios for hydrologic applications
Use of weekly, seasonal, and inter-annual climate forecasts for improved water planning and management
Use of scenario analyses to design water management strategies/policies that are resilient to population, land-use, climate change and extreme events
Economic and regulatory policy for a transitioning environment
Adaptation/mitigation of impacts of sea level rise on coastal ecosystems,water supplies and energy production

Integrated Analysis of water and energy systems
Energy demands for alternative water supplies including desalination, reclaimed water, and traditional supplies
Water demands and water quality issues for alternative energy supplies including bioenergy, algal biomass, nuclear and traditional supplies
Integrated analyses of water and energy sustainability (carbon footprints, water footprints and life cycle analyses)
Water and energy analysis of industrial and power production processes
Water, Energy and Security
Wastewater treatment technologies to achieve ultra-low nutrient levels
Coupled biological and physical-chemical processes for nutrient reduction
Use of waste byproduct materials as low-cost adsorbents for nutrients
Innovative use of wetland treatment technologies
Floating island treatment systems for in situ remediation of nutrients
Engineered materials for selective removal and recovery of nutrients
Advanced oxidation of recalcitrant nutrients to a form more readily removable
Comparison of nutrient reduction efficiency for phosphorus and nitrogen
Scale-up and field testing of reduction and recovery technologies
Applications of modeling innovative reduction and recovery technologies
Case studies of innovative reduction and recovery technologies

Integrating science and policy for improved water management

Ecosystems require an adequate supply of freshwater to support myriad processes governing their structure and function. Significant changes in allocations of water can compromise ecological integrity. Science contributes to predicting, identifying and evaluating responses of ecosystems to natural or anthropogenic changes in water allocation. Policy and laws are designed to encourage or enforce behaviors to achieve social goals. Developing appropriate policies and regulations informed by science and reflecting the societal goals remains a challenge. This session explores scientific, economic and policy analyses related to water resources sustainability, including public interest, water reservations and restrictions, flow and quantity, nutrient levels, growth management, ecosystem protection, and conservation.
Case studies/reviews of the relationship between science, economics and policy
Establishing and verifying the efficacy of MFLs for ecosystem protection
Integrating MFLs and TMDLs for improved water management
Legal, policy and permitting challenges to setting MFL and TMDLs
Economic impacts of BMP, MFL and TMDL regulation
TMDL allocation methods and modeling
Evaluation of the impacts of agricultural and urban BMPs on water quality

For details on the 2nd UF Water Institute Symposium program, presentations, and participants, check out the links below:

We gratefully acknowledge our Sponsors:

Founding Sponsor

Silver Sponsors