Water Sustainability

Water Quality and Conservation

Point- and nonpoint- sources of pollution threaten the supply of clean drinking water. Water shortages, high water prices, high groundwater extraction that threatens ecosystem health, and damaging infrastructure projects are often consequences of water management plans which fail to sufficiently recognize water as a necessity of life. Access to water should not be governed by commodity price alone but by principles of basic rights. Research at CEEP explores policy options and practices to enhance water quality and opportunities to reduce water consumption needs through policies that promote efficiency and conservation. This incorporates the evaluation of various models of conservation including conservation-oriented rates of water supply, various demand-side water management measures like the use of conservation devices, and ways to create awareness of the crisis at hand and disseminate knowledge of possible solution-oriented actions.

Projects:

Water Conservation-Oriented Rates: Strategies to Extend Supply, Promote Equity, and Meet Minimum Flow Levels.

Global Water Resources Management (Stormwater and Water Supplies)

As an increasing number of our communities undergo urbanization, impervious land cover rapidly spreads, thereby reducing the rate of infiltration of precipitation and increasing stormwater runoff. This leads to a number of environmental problems like flooding, erosion of soil, sediment and non-point source pollution in streams and rivers. CEEP projects view water resources management through the perspectives of ecosystems services and environmental justice, attempting to assess the distribution of risks and benefits amongst all strata of society. CEEP research has previously addressed policy approaches to improve aquatic ecosystems, prevent their deterioration and restore their vitality. Stormwater best practices and integrated watershed management are some examples of the approaches explored in this field of study.

Projects:

An Institutional Approach to River Basin Management: Conflict Resolution in the U.S. and South Korea – AWRA International Conference.
SET 2009 – Sprawl and Water: A Development of Water Indicators for Sprawl Control.

Water, Climate, and Equity

Climate change endangers water supplies in developed and developing countries. Changes in rainfall patterns intensify storms and cause flooding in some areas leading to water table saturation and rise in salinity of water supplies, while decreasing availability in other areas leading to droughts that exacerbate existing water shortages. Warming in high altitude regions is melting glaciers that communities downstream rely upon for their water supply. As these glaciers recede, future water shortages would become more common. To add to this, rising sea levels triggered by these changes put at risk livelihoods of large numbers of coastal residents worldwide. Projects at CEEP explore these relationships between water and climate and offer policy alternatives to address climatic impacts on community water supplies.

Projects:

Improvement of Regional Equity through Reduction in Water Debt.
Climate Change in the Lower Colorado River Basin (Development and Research Agenda).

Water-Energy Nexus

Global society is facing vulnerabilities with respect to two key resources: water and energy. CEEP recognizes both, the impact of water supply on energy and energy supply on water. Research in this area concerns policies to ensure water sustainability while addressing energy security. State and local level government strategies promoting both demand-side and supply-side water conservation are evaluated as well. Other wide-ranging water-energy concerns like energy-intensity of water treatment and supply systems and the sustainability implications of hydropower generation are assessed.

Projects:

Synergetic Effects of Sustainable Water and Energy Planning: Integration of Demand- and Supply-side options.
Studies On Planning Sustainable Environment – Integration of Water into Land-Use and Transportation Planning: Sprawl and Water.

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