Applications Due by March 29th

ERI is soliciting applications for UVA Faculty Fellows to participate in the Water Futures Initiative. A UVA Fellow will be selected to partner with each of the Visiting Fellows in the working groups outlined below. Together the Fellows will be responsible for recruiting team members for the working group and refining the research theme and approach.

UVA Fellows will receive a $10,000 stipend. The Visiting and UVA Faculty Fellows for each working group will receive funding for a Post-doctoral Fellow (or the professional equivalent) to work with the team, and meeting and travel costs to convene teams throughout 2019 and until the final Water Futures Research Summit in Summer 2020. Fellows will participate in a launching event in early May 2019. The 2020 Summit will highlight transformative results from the research teams, and will be open to the UVA community and the public.

WFI Working Groups


Water Security, Justice, and Politics

Visiting Fellow

Paolo D’Odorico, University of California, Berkeley

How is water scarcity simultaneously affecting the global economy and the basic human right of access to clean and sufficient water?  What is the ‘safe operating space’ in water use for both the environment and society to ensure a prosperous and just future?  Read more…

This working group will combine a suite of ecohydrological and socio-environmental analyses to evaluate the biophysical limits to the sustainable use of water resources. We will:

  1. Determine the boundaries for both an environmentally safe and societally just ‘operating space’ in the use of water resources.
  2. Investigate possible environmental and policy changes that could lead to ‘water stranding’ in business operations (investments and assets limited by water scarcity).
  3. Combine a variety of perspectives focusing on the analysis of ecological processes, hydrologic constraints, livelihoods, human rights, water tenure, and development.

Charlie Vorosmarty

Resilient Urban Water Systems

Visiting Fellow

Charles Vorosmarty, Environmental Sciences Institute, City University of New York

How can we best use principles drawn from natural ecosystems – in tandem with those from engineering, design and institutional frameworks – to develop and operate resilient water systems?  How can we provide reliable, productive, and equitable water systems that minimize hazard and waste in the most densely populated habitats of the planet (21st century cities) and their contributing watersheds. Read more…

This working group will investigate the socio-environmental conditions and development potential and constraints of green and grey urban water resources that will achieve resilient, equitable solutions to urban water management.  We will:

  1. Inventory a range of cities in terms of their current and potential future transition between grey and green infrastructure, centralized/decentralized systems, importing vs recycling approaches to resilient water systems. Case studies, will span an array of contemporary and potential future conditions, and will include:
    1. Advanced cities with centralized systems, shifting reliance on imported to recycled water, and strong financial/institutional capacity (e.g. Singapore)
    2. Cities that have not implemented centralized infrastructure and may “leapfrog” traditional grey to develop more green oriented infrastructure (e.g. Kampala) ,
    3. Older US cities that are retrofitting and shifting grey to grey/green infrastructure solutions to achieve multiple sustainability goals (NYC, Washington, Baltimore)
  2. Identify the organizational principles that promote water resilience in naturally evolving ecosystems, and translate these into new urban design and engineering paradigms adapted to the range of urban areas investigated above.

Coastal Water Futures

Visiting Fellow

Emily Bernhardt, Biology Department, Duke University

What are the primary challenges and strategies to mitigate impacts of current and future social and environmental change to coastal waters, ecosystems and resources on the East Coast of North America?  Coastal waters are defined as the freshwaters on the coastal plain (including groundwater) and brackish and saline waters in coastal creeks, wetlands and estuaries. Read more…

The working group will explore likely futures, and potential management strategies for US Coastal Waters, considering climate, land use and socioeconomic change impacts.  We will:

  1. Write a white paper that lays out key science and social science questions that must be answered in order to intelligently manage coastal waters over the next century. The paper will be framed around several alternative scenarios including a Business as Usual option. Unique features of this effort will include:
    • Explicit recognition of the connection between coastal freshwaters and coastal waters
    • Explicit recognition of the important role of water resource management in determining the pace of coastal salinization
    • An emphasis on Coastal Salinization (Sea Level Rise + Salt Water Intrusion) as a dynamic and heterogeneous transition rather than a gradual change (Sea Level Rise)
  2. Explore the extent of the eastern coastal plain that is vulnerable to salinization. This will expand upon existing sea level rise vulnerability maps to map the likely extent of saltwater intrusion vulnerability for the eastern coastal plain of the US.
  3. Explore the consequences of coastal salinization and what adaptive management strategies can best minimize or mitigate undesirable impacts. We will coordinate a workshop to bring together researchers from existing coastal research groups from Maine to Florida to develop a shared set of priority monitoring and experimental measurements.

Submit An Application

Complete the form below. File upload should include a brief summary of your research area, what you would bring to the team, and a list of representative products reflecting your work (1-2 pages total).