The Alabama Water Resources Research Institute is a university-based interdisciplinary, problem-oriented research and technology center with support from the federal government that enables the program to address broad national needs and relevant industrial technology.
The Water Resources Research Institute coordinates research programs which are applicable to the solution of present and emerging water resources problems. In carrying out this mission, the Institute has developed a broadly based research, training, information transfer, and public service program involving personnel from many academic disciplines in the state's research universities.
The Alabama Water Resources Research Institute is one of 54 water resources institutes nationwide authorized by the federal Water Resources Research Act. The state-based Water Resources Research Institutes are located at land grant universities and promote research and information dissemination on the state's and nation's water resources problems.
Videos and presentation slides are now available from the “Drought Response” Workshop held on Oct. 8 by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and NWRI.
The filmed presentations include a fascinating discussion on how a water utility responded to the threat of a California wildfire (see David Briggs, SFPUC), a timely presentation on the current state of California’s water resources during a time of continued drought (Jeanine Jones, DWR), groundbreaking new research on atmospheric rivers that could very well change the entire field of climatology and how to predict droughts (Martin Ralph, Scripps), and a utility’s innovative groundwater banking program to mitigate against drought (Paul Cook, IRWD).
You can access the videos and presentation slides on NWRI’s website at:
Position begins: August 1, 2014. Job will open until filled.
Job description: Teaching responsibilities include undergraduate and graduate courses in hydrogeology and environmental geology. Other teaching responsibilities may include introductory courses such as Earth Science and Physical Geology. The selected candidate is expected to have a background in geomorphology, geological applications of GIS, and geology of soils. Research, university/community service, and cooperative work with Department faculty and staff are expected.
The 27th Annual Alabama Water Resources Conference was held Thursday & Friday, Sept. 5-6, 2013, at the Perdido Beach Resort Hotel and Convention Center in Orange Beach, Alabama. Immediately preceding on Wednesday, Sept. 4, the Alabama Section of AWRA hosted a Water Resources Symposium. These meetings provided an excellent forum for updates on the status and issues regarding the many multi-disciplinary aspects of current and future water use, management, and conservation issues.
This year’s Conference and Symposium was a great success. About 280 people attended the conference and symposium. 25 students participated student presentation competition.
Endocrine disruptors can end up in wastewater through a variety of routes. Wastewater can contain natural human hormones, hormones from pharmaceutical products like birth control pills, and potential endocrine distruptors present in detergents, soaps, plastics, food, and personal care products such as fragrances. EPA researchers have documented that chemical mixtures in some wastewater effluents (or outflows) can result in feminization of fish populations downstream of treatment plants. Given such concerns, EPA researchers are assessing wastewater effluents to measure their effects on ecosystems and aquatic animals while also developing innovative solutions to reduce concentrations of potential endocrine disruptors. EPA researchers are deploying a range of techniques to examine effluents from waste water treatment facilities.
EPA researchers recently published a study in which they successfully developed and tested a microarray-based assay that can detect fecalindicator bacteria and human pathogens in tap water. This tool can simultaneously detect multiple organisms in a single sample as well as provide information on how often these organisms occur. This information may be used to assess potential exposure risks to waterborne pathogens.
This paper, authored by EPA scientists, compared current methods and technologies for collecting, isolating, and detecting pathogenic viruses in drinking and recreational waters. The paper was recently published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. The meta-analysis showed that electronegative filters, electropositive filters and ultrafilters are comparable in performance. Any differences in recovery are due to virus type rather than filter type, water matrix or sample volume. You can read the paper here.
As part of the U.S. EPA Aging Water Infrastructure (AWI) Research program, a key area of research was a study of current approaches available for making rehabilitation versus replacement decisions. EPA scientist Ariamalar Selvakumar, PhD co-authored an analysis of wastewater and water system renewal decision-making tools and approaches that was published by the Journal of Pipeline System and Engineering Practice. This paper provides a review of decision support systems and methods used over the last 15 years and summarizes the findings from visits with eight large utilities in the U.S. to discuss how each makes rehabilitation versus replacement decisions of their water infrastructure systems.
Green roofs are vegetated roofs that provide several benefits to urban environments, including reduction of stormwater runoff volume and intensity, filtration of stormwater discharge, and reduction of the urban heat island effect, among others. In order to provide these benefits, the green roofs must receive sufficient amounts of water and nutrients to keep the plants alive. Because of the risk of plant failure from incorrectly selected species, the lack of information on green roofs in a high elevation, semi-arid region, and the large potential for environmental benefits, studies were conducted on various performance parameters on the green roof of the building that houses the EPA Region 8 in Denver, Colorado.
The Stormwater Calculator is an easy-to-use desktop application that estimates the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from a specific site – any address in the United States – based on local soil conditions, land cover and historic rainfall records. The calculator assesses several national databases to provide local soil and weather conditions for the chosen site. The user supplies information about the site’s land cover as well as what type of green infrastructure they would like to use. Green infrastructure can include low impact controls such as rain gardens, cisterns and porous pavement that retain rainfall on site until it eventually evaporates into the air, infiltrates the ground, or is otherwise consumed. The calculator will be available here:
Drinking water shortages have increasingly become a problem in recent years and climate change will only increase shortages. EPA scientist Jeffrey Yang, PhD recently co-authored a paper detailing how urban water infrastructure managers can plan for water shortages through innovative system planning and decision analysis. The authors believe that you can balance the carbon footprint of a system and still ensure that it is cost effective.
EPA researchers are using climate models and watershed simulations to better understand how climate change will affect streams and rivers.
A warming climate threatens hotter summers and more extreme storms. We know we may need to upgrade our air conditioning systems and make emergency preparedness kits, but aside from temperatures and storms, what are other ways we will be affected by climate change?
A postgraduate internship project is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Water in Washington, D.C. This internship will be served in the Water Permits Division (WPD).
Applicants must have received a bachelor’s or master’s degree in environmental science, engineering, biology, or economics within five years of the desired starting date, or completion of all requirements for the degree should be expected prior to the starting date.
The annual stipend will range from $52,000 to $63,000 depending on educational level and experience.
EPA, The Nature Conservancy, and the Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) have jointly signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that formalizes a mutual collaboration between these groups as they strive to develop and implement healthy watersheds programs in states and with regional aquatic ecosystem programs to help sustain an integrated network of healthy watersheds across the country. EPA, The Nature Conservancy and ACWA agree to meet periodically to track progress related to developing and implementing healthy watersheds programs in states and with regional aquatic ecosystem programs, as well as promote the sharing of educational and scientific information such as data gathering and sharing of watershed health assessments and healthy watershed implementation projects.
For more information, visit the Healthy Watersheds Web site.
The Watershed Center of Excellence Report (2008-2010) provides an update of activities related the following specific projects:
Alabama Water Resources Research Institute recently announced the award of three FY-2013 AL Water Resources Grants. The object of this program is to facilitate research faculty in the state in making significant advances, and increasing regional and national competitiveness, in the water resources arena. For the purpose of this competition, “water resources arena” is defined in the broadest possible terms. Proposals are invited from all permanent full time tenured, tenure-track and non-tenured faculty from any universities or colleges in Alabama.
Details about the awarded proposals are available at http://awrri.auburn.edu/grants.php
Last Updated: Jan 21, 2011