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Urban water-supply systems consist of both physical infrastructure and policies that govern their use. These systems are designed to be adaptable to a wide range of supply and demand conditions. However, climatic and social shifts are placing new stresses on water-supply systems that require substantial changes, also called transitions, to maintain system performance. This research analyzes transitions across 12 large-scale urban water systems in the United States to achieve two goals: 1) to better document the interactions among various environmental and human factors that may prompt transition, and 2) to identify which infrastructure and policy design choices can foster practical transitions to increase sustainability. To accomplish these goals this project will gather and analyze long-term human and environmental data to synthesize relationships and trends, and develop two complementary models to identify pathways that can lead to a sustainable water-supply transition. This project will directly involve stakeholders in multiple stages of the research to both learn from their experiences and ensure that outputs meet their needs. This project also will provide education and training opportunities to help students develop the competencies needed to collaborate across fields, a skill that is essential to tackle current environmental challenges.
More information can be found at https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1923880