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NSF-Funded Urban Water Initiative

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Posted August 14, 2015

Urban planning professor Gary Pivo of the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture will serve as deputy director of the national Urban Water Innovation Network.

Confluence Park, shown here, is an urban park encompassing the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River in Denver's Lower Downtown.

Confluence Park, shown here, is an urban park encompassing the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River in Denver’s Lower Downtown.

The National Science Foundation has granted $12 million to a consortium of 14 academic institutions, led by Colorado State University and including the University of Arizona, to fund an urban water initiative.

Gary Pivo, professor of urban planning in the UA College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, will serve as deputy director of the national Urban Water Innovation Network, or UWIN. The mission of UWIN is to create technological, institutional and management solutions to help communities increase the resilience of water systems and enhance preparedness for responding to water crises.

“This support from NSF will help a global network of faculty, students and community partners decode the mysteries of cities and foster transitions to more sustainable urban futures,” Pivo said. “Cities are complicated human and natural systems that are far too understudied, even though most of us depend on them for our livelihood and quality of life.”

Other UA faculty involved include Thomas Meixner from the UA College of Science; Shirley Papuga, Phillip Guertin and Michael Crimmins from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Adam Henry from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

According to the 2014 Global Risks Perception Survey by the World Economic Forum, water crises are the top global risk to the viability of communities throughout the world. The vision of UWIN is to create an enduring research network for integrated water systems and to cultivate champions of innovation for water-sensitive urban design and resilient cities.

The network will establish six highly connected regional urban water sustainability hubs in densely populated regions across the nation to serve as innovation centers, helping communities transition to sustainable management of water resources. Strategic partnerships and engagement with other prominent U.S. and international networks will extend UWIN’s reach to more than 100 cities around the world. Key UWIN partners and collaborators include the Water Environment Research Foundation, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network and the Network for Water in European Regions and Cities.

“A sustainable water supply is a constant concern for those of us who live in the desert, but as population increases, it is fast becoming a global issue,” said Janice Cervelli, dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. “CAPLA is proud to help lead a project that strives for more diffuse water security.”

Source: University of Arizona

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