Researchers Will Study Impact of Drought on Water Quality

EPA awards $4M in grants for research and to combat impact of drought on water quality in watersheds and at drinking water utilities
Researchers Will Study Impact of Drought on Water Quality

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $4 million to four institutions to conduct research to combat the effects of drought and extreme events on water quality in watersheds and at drinking water utilities.

“As a nation we are witnessing the harmful effects of droughts and extreme events, such as wildfires and flooding, that often follow drought conditions," Thomas A. Burke, EPA science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development, said in a press release. "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."

These grants will provide innovative strategies for protecting water quality and public health during periods of drought. Increasing demands on the nation’s water resources, climate change, population growth and aging water infrastructure systems pose substantial threats to these resources.

The following institutions received funding through the EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program:

  • Clemson University (Clemson, South Carolina) for investigating the effects of different forest fire reduction management techniques, such as prescribed burns or mechanical thinning, in experimental forested watersheds associated with rainstorm events following droughts and the impact on treated drinking water supplies.
  • Water Research Foundation (University of Colorado at Boulder, Colorado) for developing an integrated modeling and decision framework to evaluate adaptation strategies for sustainable drinking water utility management impacted by drought and climate change.
  • Public Policy Institute of California (San Francisco, California) for synthesizing the current drought situation and its effects on water supply and quality, and conducting an assessment that examines the drought response by federal, state, and local institutions to develop innovations needed for sustainable drought management.
  • University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah) for developing and integrating tools, models, and educational materials that can be used by stakeholders to improve planning efforts related to water supply, forecasting demand for water, and nutrient reduction.  

More information about the STAR grants and recipients:  


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