The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently provided $3.9 million for a ground breaking water infrastructure research program at the University of Texas at Austin’s (UT Austin) Cockrell School of Engineering. Known as the Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management, the EPA’s grant will fund research to enhance the country’s water infrastructure modeling and share tools / discoveries with local communities and stakeholders.  With nearly 90% of Americans supporting the need for infrastructure improvements , this Center will help generate new research strategies to better understand current challenges.
“This project ties into our nation’s aging infrastructure,” said Ben Hodges, associate professor in UT Austin Cockrell School’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, in a UT Austin press release. “On the pipe distribution network side, the big issues we have are water losses through leaks in decaying infrastructure, and contamination…Part of our goal is to enhance the model’s ability to answer critical water quality questions for the water supply.” 
UT Austin partnered with the Urban Watersheds Research Institute (UWRI) to provide expert resources related to infrastructure research and Center development functions, such as coding, community building and training. Noted influential contributors include scientists from Brigham Young University, Texas Tech University, and North Carolina State. 
The Center’s research will begin by using and extending two tools previously developed by the EPA: (1) the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM), simulation software used to study and design sewers, stormwater runoff and other drainage systems; and (2) EPANET, software that represents water infrastructure systems. “The focus in our department is on cities, water and energy and developing the tools that are so vital to monitoring and improving those areas,” Hodges said. In addition, the Center focuses on providing community outreach tools. It offers the opportunity for individuals across the United States to log onto its website (www.ncimm.org) and learn about water infrastructure modeling and the Center’s research. 
The Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management will help provide communities and stakeholders the tools needed for the future of the nation’s infrastructure. EPA regional administrator Ron Curry said in the same press release, “UT Austin will help develop sustainable solutions to 21st-century water problems, while working with communities and coders to promote green infrastructure.” 
Published December 29, 2016
 The University of Texas at Austin. UT Austin Engineering Becomes New Home for EPA Water Infrastructure Center. The University of Texas at Austin, November 3, 2016. Web. https://news.utexas.edu/2016/11/03/epa-selects-ut-austin-for-water-infrastructure-center  Kinney, Jen. How Cities Are Tackling Aging Water Systems. Next City, December 20, 2016. Web. https://nextcity.org/daily/entry/how-cities-pay-aging-water-infrastructure  Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management. The Teaming Organizations. Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management, 2016. Web. http://www.ncimm.org/AboutUs.html