EPA funded research to protect water quality during drought

November 30, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has announced it will provide $4 million in funding to support four institutions' research on combating the effects of drought and extreme events on water quality in watersheds and at drinking water utilities.

The institutions receiving grants are all pursuing new methods for protecting water quality and public health during periods of drought. Dry conditions, population growth and aging water infrastructure systems can pose significant threats to U.S. water resources.

"As a nation we are witnessing the harmful effects of droughts and extreme events, such as wildfires and flooding, that often follow drought conditions," said Thomas Burke, EPA Science Advisor and Deputy Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development. "This research will provide innovative strategies to help local communities, states, tribes and the federal government better understand the impacts of these problems and better protect our nation's water and the health of our friends and families who rely on those water resources."

Receiving these grants will be:

  • Clemson University for investigating the effects of different forest fire reduction management techniques, such as prescribed burns or mechanical thinning, on drinking water supplies in areas known to see rainstorms after periods of drought.
  • Water Research Foundation, University of Colorado at Boulder for developing an integrated modeling and decision framework that will help evaluate adaptation strategies for sustainable drinking water utility management.
  • Public Policy Institute of California to analyze the current drought's effect on water supply and quality. In addition, they will assess the drought response by federal, state and local institutions, then recommend innovations needed for sustainable drought management.
  • University of Utah for developing and integrating tools, models and educational materials that stakeholders can use to improve planning efforts related to water supply, forecasting water demand and nutrient reduction.

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