The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) has recently launched
the Institute for Water Research, Sustainability and Policy. The institute
brings together faculty across UTSA to collaborate in the areas of water
quality, water quantity, flood control and water policy. The research will
focus on the effects of climate change on water resources in the local San
Antonio area, the South Texas region, and the I-10 Corridor. Eventually, the
research and studies will expand to include national and international water
issues and solutions.
“An institute based on water research is absolutely needed, based on the part of Texas where we live,” said Saugata Datta, the Weldon W. Hammond Jr. Endowed Distinguished Professor in Hydrogeology. “There was a need for understanding water availability, quantity and various aspects of water in terms of public health and economics because water plays a big role in terms of the economy of the city and state. The societal impact of water issues is significantly important in a state like Texas.”
The Institute will investigate multidisciplinary water issues, such as hydro-terrorism and the food-water-energy nexus across regional, national, and international political boundaries. Members of the institute will also seek to understand the resiliency of San Antonio’s drinking water resources as well as coastal water resources. Researchers from various disciplines will study the effects of hydrological processes, flood control, water quality, human behavior, remediation, and impacts on human and ecosystem health arising from stressors on coastal water resources.
“Since its very inception this institute has been designed as a comprehensive and highly collaborative unit, with members across all disciplines representing every college at UTSA,” said Jose Lopez-Ribot, associate dean for research in the College of Sciences. “As such, the new institute is truly transdisciplinary in nature. The institute places UTSA in a unique position to address water challenges in San Antonio, Texas and beyond—both in the present and the future.”
The core faculty of the Institute includes researchers from the College of Sciences; College of Engineering; College for Health, Community and Policy; College of Liberal and Fine Arts; and College of Education and Human Development. Students across multiple disciplines at UTSA as well as local community college students will have access to cutting-edge technology in various laboratories across campus that are now part of the center’s umbrella of water research. They will also have the opportunity to participate in novel approaches to laboratory, field and modeling-based studies as they learn more about water science. The institute plans to offer certificate-level courses and will implement masters and Ph.D. programs in the near future.
“The Institute for Water Research, Sustainability and Policy is an essential resource for the San Antonio community,” said David Silva, dean of the College of Sciences. “Our growing population and ongoing drought issues demand creative, science-based solutions. I am confident that the collaborative research coming out of this institute will positively impact San Antonio’s future.”
 Moriarty, L (2020, September 22). New water institute to explore the resource’s impact on society. UTSA Today. https://www.utsa.edu/today/2020/09/story/water-research-institute-launches.html
Photo Credit: The University of Texas at San Antonio