Research

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CONSERVE: The Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food, and Health

Identification and Classification of Non-traditional Water Sources for Agricultural Irrigation.

Funding: USDA-NIFA (Project No. 16010132)

As climate variability escalates and population growth puts more pressure on our limited freshwater sources, the exploration of nontraditional irrigation water sources has become a national priority. CONSERVE: A Center of Excellence at the Nexus of Sustainable Water Reuse, Food, and Health was established in 2016 to address these challenges. The main goal of CONSERVE is to enable food production to thrive despite our erratic climate, furthering our societal quests to solve water resource problems and sustain food production in arable land across the nation. As part of CONSERVE, the Water Security and Sustainability Lab (WSSL) is responsible for identification and classification of non-traditional water sources for agricultural irrigation. The WSSL compiles local and regional data on the sources and quantities of reusable water our target regions (e.g., publicly owned wastewater treatment facility data and data on other potential sources) and link these data as attributes on a user-friendly geographical information system (GIS) platform that we will develop. We will then link these sources to agricultural point-of-use sites, factoring in proximity and ease of access. We will also classify the reusable water based on quantity and chemical, microbial and physical quality. Results of this classification will be recorded as separate attributes on our GIS platform, enabling users to match the appropriateness of specific types of reusable water with crop types.

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City of Tomorrow: Developing Decision Support Systems for Integrated Urban Water Cycle Management

Funding: University of Maryland

In this study we aim at developing a decision support system using different metrics such as “emergy analysis” and “footprint approach”. We will test the integrated water cycle management approach with real world case studies (Washington DC and Los Angeles) to support the decision making.

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Food Corridors: Exploring the Food-Water-Energy-Climate Nexus

Water supplies and food production are becoming increasingly uncertain due to climate change, changes in demographic patterns and economic growth. Most of the international and bilateral aid agencies have tended to focus on expanding agricultural production via infrastructure investments and less on resource logistic management. This has been traditionally left to the governments and local entrepreneurs and more recently to the global private sector. The focus of our research is to explore the feasibility of modeling those resource logistics within the framework of international and intra-national corridors while taking into account the regional comparative advantage of spatial and temporal variation of water and energy resources.