A project led by Alicia Cooperman (TAMU), James Doss-Gollin (Rice), Alex Mayer (UTEP), and Shane Walker (UTEP) has been funded through the NSF EAGER SAI program. Here’s the description:
In this project, an iterative, collaborative framework for monitoring point of use water treatment in underserved communities is tested. This framework blends local expertise on social dynamics and water issues with project expertise in governance, water treatment, and systems modeling. This framework is co-developed with communities where residents rely on a combination of trucked and bottled water. Aging pipes and treatment facilities, droughts exacerbated, and contamination of water supplies all challenge America’s drinking water infrastructure. Water typically is treated at central facilities and then piped to users, but recent technological advances could enable water treatment at the point of use (e.g., a house). In theory, this approach can make water systems more resilient to extremes, reduce the need for pipes and pumping, help water systems scale up or down as populations change, and filter contaminants that existing plants cannot treat cost-effectively. However, point of use water treatment also shifts the burden of maintaining water treatment infrastructure, monitoring water quality, and governing water systems onto end users, creating new vulnerabilities for water infrastructure systems. In this project, an iterative, collaborative framework to stress test strategies for water quality monitoring in decentralized water treatment systems is developed to address this challenge. This research contributes to answering important questions for 21st century water infrastructure, including: (1) Under what biophysical and social conditions are decentralized water systems effective and likely to succeed? (2) What is the appropriate scale for decentralized water systems in small communities? (3) What are the barriers to water access in the US rural context?
In this project an iterative, collaborative framework to stress test strategies for water quality monitoring in decentralized water treatment systems is developed. The stress test integrates potential challenges identified by community members and leaders in focus groups with water quality sampling and mathematical modeling of water systems. The project is carried out through a series of iterative activities: qualitative interviews, field water quality observations, water system design, first round of focus groups, water security assessment, quantitative surveys and conjoint experiment, revised water system design, and a second round of focus groups. This project concerning participatory design for water quality monitoring extends observational research on water systems and social dynamics by actively engaging the community in collaborative focus groups about the current water system and potential future water systems.
For further details, see the NSF’s website.
News & Updates
26 Apr 2022Open positions for undergraduate research assistants
Come work on equitable water supply in rural areas
08 Dec 2021Talk at Risk KAN Compound Events Group
Slides and recording now available
19 Nov 2021Doss-Gollin Lab at AGU21
Look forward to seeing you there!
01 Sep 2021Houston Chronicle Op-Ed: The risks of climate change are great - so are the rewards of solving it
by Andrew Dessler, James Doss-Gollin and Katharine Hayhoe
27 Aug 2021NSF Award from EAGER SAI: 'Participatory Design for Water Quality Monitoring of Highly Decentralized Water Infrastructure Systems'
with TAMU and UTEP