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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Stanford University
  • Richard G Luthy
  • (650) 721-2615
  • David Sedlak
  • Nirmal N Khandan
  • John E McCray
Award Date:07/19/2011
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 18,175,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 36,681,596
  • FY 2015=$4,500,000
  • FY 2018=$4,362,098
  • FY 2020=$2,161,367
  • FY 2019=$3,046,556
  • FY 2012=$3,500,000
  • FY 2014=$8,000,000
  • FY 2017=$4,051,575
  • FY 2013=$3,810,000
  • FY 2011=$3,250,000
Start Date:08/01/2011
End Date:07/31/2021
Transaction Type: Cooperative Agreements
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:NSF Engineering Research Center for Re-Inventing America's Urban Water Infrastructure
Federal Award ID Number:1028968
DUNS ID:009214214
Parent DUNS ID:009214214
Program:ERC-Eng Research Centers
Program Officer:
  • Sandra Cruz-Pol
  • (703) 292-2928

Awardee Location

Street:450 Jane Stanford Way
Awardee Cong. District:18

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Stanford University
Street:450 Jane Stanford Way
Cong. District:18

Abstract at Time of Award

Project Summary: The ERC for Re-inventing America's Urban Water Infrastructure; Richard G. Luthy, PI, Stanford Univ., Lead; Univ. of California, Berkeley; Colorado School of Mines; New Mexico State Univ. Foreign Partners: Nanyang Technological Univ., Singapore; Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Dubendorf, Switzerland; Univ. of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Vision and Goals. Cities are facing a mounting water crisis from climate change, population expansion, ecosystem demands and deteriorating infrastructure that threatens economic development, social welfare, and environmental sustainability. Without relatively large investments this crisis will only deepen through the 21st century. Accordingly, the goal of the proposed ERC is to advance new strategies for water/wastewater treatment and distribution that will eliminate the need for imported water, recover resources from wastewater, and generate rather than consume energy in the operation of urban water infrastructure while simultaneously enhancing urban aquatic ecosystems. While many existing approaches could be used to transition urban water infrastructure to this more sustainable state, their implementation currently is limited by uncertainties about their long-term performance, life cycle costs, institutional impediments and public concerns about unfamiliar technologies. In some cases, the technologies needed to realize our vision do not yet exist and technological breakthroughs are needed. To meet these challenges, our strategic planning process identified key research projects within three thrust areas: (1) Engineered Water Systems: Decrease reliance on inefficient centralized treatment systems by employing distributed treatment systems that embrace water conservation, local use of alternative supplies, energy management, nutrient recovery, and that integrate with existing infrastructure; (2) Managed Natural Systems: Integrate managed natural systems into water infrastructure to fully realize the potential benefits that natural systems can provide with respect to water storage and improvement of water quality, while simultaneously rehabilitating urban hydrology and aquatic habitat; (3) Systems Integration and Institutions: Support the reinvention and restoration of urban water systems through the development of decision-making tools that account for economic, environmental and social factors and development of approaches that can circumvent impediments to change posed by regulations, laws, jurisdictional fragmentation, financing and public perception. The ERC will conduct short-term research to facilitate adoption of existing technologies that have the potential to improve system performance and long-term research on technologies that can fundamentally transform urban water infrastructure. Regardless of timing, all of the research will be targeted at understanding how new technologies and management strategies affect the performance of complex urban water infrastructure systems Intellectual Merit. The proposed ERC joins four leading universities in the West and three international universities at the forefront of urban water infrastructure research. Although increased demands on water supplies occur throughout the country, these demands are acute in the arid West, where the ERC partner universities have special capabilities and access to unique test beds. Furthermore, each campus has strategic collaborations with members of the professional community and international research partners that will help us to translate our research into tangible results. Through a combination of innovative research, systems analysis and meaningful collaborations with stakeholders, we will ensure a more rapid reinvention of urban water infrastructure in a manner that is sustainable, safe and cost-effective. Broader Impacts. Technology transfer of the ERC’s research will occur through close involvement of end users. Public and private water service providers, government representatives, equipment manufacturers, and technologists will actively participate in the ERC to ensure the research is influential in decisions about urban water infrastructure operation and renewal. To support the development of innovative new technologies, we will establish a center within the ERC to provide cutting-edge evaluations of devices developed by small companies with the aim of improving products and fostering development of start-ups. The ERC's outreach will build a pipeline of diverse, well-prepared students who eventually pursue and complete water-related degrees at the undergraduate and graduate level becoming leaders and supporting significant change in the Nation’s water infrastructure in a manner that is guided by scientific knowledge and whose efforts are supported by an informed public. Each component of the education and outreach plan feeds directly into the attainment of this vision beginning at the elementary level and continuing through graduate education. To ensure the involvement of under-represented minorities, the ERC is partnered with American Indian Tribal Colleges and Universities, and K-8 and high schools that target districts that serve primarily Latino, Pacific Islander and African American populations.

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