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Re-inventing America's urban water infrastructure
Date:7/26/2011

America's cities face a looming water crisis, driven by climate change, growing population and a crumbling infrastructure. Recognizing the critical importance of this issue, the National Science Foundation has selected a partnership of four U.S. universities to form an Engineering Research Center (ERC) to address this challenge by developing new, sustainable ways to manage urban water. The initial grant is $18.5 million spread over five years, with additional millions to come in the subsequent five-year period following in-progress reviews.

Engineering Research Centers are interdisciplinary hubs established at U.S. universities. Researchers work in close partnership with industry to pursue strategic advances in complex engineered systems and technologies. The Urban Water ERC is led by Stanford University and includes researchers trained in environmental engineering, earth sciences, hydrology, ecology, urban studies, economics and law at Stanford, the University of California-Berkeley, Colorado School of Mines and New Mexico State University.

Concerted effort, grand scale

"Urban water represents a monumental challenge for the United States and it deserves concerted research and thinking on the grandest scale," said project leader Richard Luthy, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford. "We're clearing the slate. Nothing is being taken for granted. We'll be developing new strategies for replacing crumbling infrastructure, new technologies for water management and treatment, new ways to recover energy and water, and more much of it yet to be determined."

One example: better integration of natural systems as part of urban water infrastructure to improve water quality and storage while simultaneously enhancing habitats and the urban landscape.

The partnership of these specific universities is as symbolic as it is pragmatic. The Urba
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Contact: Andrew Myers
admyers@stanford.edu
650-736-2245
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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