Texas A&M University announced last week that it will fund a new interdisciplinary project on urban water security — “Pathways to Sustainable Urban Water Security: Desalination and Water Reuse in the 21st Century” — for $1.5M over the next three years.
Desalination of seawater and brackish groundwater and wastewater reuse are seen as major technological interventions that can address the increased pressure on water resources in the context of growing global demand for freshwater for domestic and productive uses. While offering new sources of water, critics highlight several impediments to their sustainable implementation and negative impacts across regions and environments. Our three-year project examines the global desalination and water reuse corporate and finance sector, analyzes the legal framework for unconventional water production across case study sites, and examines the complex water governance regimes that promote and challenge the transformation of this sector in water-stressed urban regions in Texas, California, Australia, and Israel.
I am leading the project with a team of Co-PIs that includes Dr. Christian Brannstrom (Geosciences), Professor Gabriel Eckstein (Law School), Dr. Robert Greer (Bush School), Dr. Mark Holtzapple (Engineering), Dr. Kent Portney (Bush School), Dr. John Tracy (TWRI), and Dr. Sierra Woodruff (Urban Planning). Our team will examine several aspects of desalination and wastewater reuse sector and socio-technical systems through a mixed methods approach designed to operate in an integrated and comparative interdisciplinary case study framework. We will develop a sectoral database as well as conduct surveys, documentary analysis, and semi-structured interviews to support systematic comparative case studies, social network analysis, and Q-Methodology, guided by four objectives tied to several research activities.
We will be hiring post-doctoral scholars and graduate students as we launch this interdisciplinary project in hopes to build a community of practice at Texas A&M around these grand challenges for the the 21st Century.
Eight interdisciplinary research projects will share $7 million in funding during the first round of Texas A&M University’s X-Grants program, an initiative of the 10-year, $100 million President’s Excellence Fund, the university announced today.
The funded projects represent 81 faculty members and other researchers from eight colleges—Agriculture and Life Sciences, Architecture, Education and Human Development, Engineering, Geosciences, Liberal Arts, Medicine and Science—as well as the Mays Business School, the School of Law, the School of Public Health and the Bush School of Government and Public Service. In addition, two state agencies of The Texas A&M University System are represented: the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
The X-Grants program was launched in February 2018 with an open invitation to the Texas A&M faculty, staff and students to submit ideas, such as research problem statements, questions or topics. The invitation generated 1,682 ideas, resulting in 145 overarching research themes, which inspired 276 one-page proposals for X-Grants funding from A&M researchers.
For more details of the funded projects, visit the X-Grant program’s website: https://president.tamu.edu/xgrants/index.html.