World Water Day at the UWRL

By Alyssa Regis | March 22, 2024

 

March 22, 2024 -- The Utah Water Research Laboratory honored World Water Day 2024 by celebrating interdisciplinary collaboration to highlight the importance of sustainably managing water resources.

Water is a universal resource. Issues of environmental quality, aging infrastructure, increasing demand, and drought are not unique to Utah or the western US. For research institutions like the UWRL, collaboration is vital to advancing innovative solutions and management decisions.

The Great Salt Lake, in particular, is representative of terminal lakes and drought conditions across the globe. As conditions become more extreme, input from many researchers, policy-makers, and experts ensure the best solutions can be implemented.

Two faculty members at the UWRL are part of the Great Salt Lake Strike Team, a technical, policy-advising group focused on protective measures and potential solutions for the lake. David Tarboton and Bethany Neilson add their hydrology expertise to the Strike Team’s toolkit.

Tarboton, director of the UWRL, also highlighted the Great Salt Lake in multiple collaboratory efforts this week leading up to World Water Day.

USU is a collaborating institution of I-GUIDE, a nation-wide institute dedicated to harnessing geospatial data for sustainable innovation. As a member of the I-GUIDE executive committee, Tarboton presented “Seeking Solutions to Restore the Great Salt Lake” in the Virtual All-Hands meeting.  He showed research on the impact of human consumption on Great Salt Lake levels that informs efforts to restore the lake to healthy levels.

The UWRL also contributed a video to Arizona State University’s global water collaboratory—a bottom-up effort to accelerate water solutions. Tarboton again focused on the Great Salt Lake and the many opportunities to share solutions in data management, air quality, efficient irrigation, and more.

“The informatic needs of Utah are not dissimilar to those elsewhere,” Tarboton said. “We need collaboration to improve, advance, and generalize hydrologic information systems.”

Water research and solutions transcend university, state, and country boundaries. To find answers to the difficult water questions plaguing people and planet, we need the ideas of researchers everywhere. The UWRL is thrilled to be a part of many interdisciplinary efforts to address water needs.

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Writer: Alyssa Regis, alyssa.regis@usu.edu, 435-797-1807