It’s no secret that the United States’ water infrastructure is in poor condition. In 2009, it received a grade of D- from the American Society of Civil Engineers Infrastructure Report Card, one of the lowest grades the United States received. In one day alone, there are over 700 water main breaks in Houston, Texas.
With the challenge of providing safe, clean, reliable water becoming a daunting task, the National Science Foundation launched the Re-Inventing America’s Urban Water Infrastructure Engineering Research Center (ERC), a part of Engineering Research Centers, a group of centers at universities across the U.S. that pursue “strategic advances in complex engineered systems and systems-level technologies.”
The Re-Inventing America’s Urban Water Infrastructure ERC is comprised of four major universities: Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Colorado School of Mines, and New Mexico University, with their research aims being:
- To incorporate resource recovery and energy production into engineered water systems,
- To engineer natural systems to improve water quantity, water quality, and habitat,
- To overcome impediments to adopting new urban water management strategies,
- To develop technologies in concert with companies involved in the Center’s program,
- To provide improved decision-making tools to decision makers.
And, as their introductory video states, they’re “working together to transform traditional models of water use to more sustainable systems.”