Drinking water supplyWatershed health in the Ocean State

Funded by a three-year, $6 million grant awarded to NSF EPSCoR jurisdictions Rhode Island, Delaware and Vermont, sensor equipment placed in the states’ streams are providing a comprehensive regional picture of how climate variations may play a role in water quality and quantity.

The three stNEWRnetates formed the North East Water Resources Network (NEWRnet), supported by NSF award #1330406, to carry out the project, which is funded by the NSF’s EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) Track-2 program.

Researchers in the three states are collaborating efforts in multiple disciplines, from hydrology to economics, chemistry and marine robotics, to gather data, assess water quality, and gauge impact of information on policy decisions. With varying local climates, precipitation, and population density, the information compiled will present a unique and valuable perspective.

State-of-the-art water sensors in streams measure baseline water quality parameters and the overall conditions of water bodies. The sensors allow researchers to assess watershed health and determine the impact of extreme weather events. Meanwhile, economists from the three states utilize models they created to conduct experiments on the social dimensions to better understand how water resource users may respond to information on water quality and climate variability.

Watershed health

The sensors assess the health of the watersheds and how extreme weather events may impact them. They are deployed continuously for weeks at a time, taking a biogeochemical pulse of the watershed.

Research experience

The NEWRnet project provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to gain lab and field experience under the guidance of faculty mentors as they develop research protocol in emerging fields.

Track-2 in depth

Pooling the latest technology with cutting edge science, the Track-2 project is providing researchers with new, incredibly detailed information to better assess, protect and preserve water resources.

Connecting RI

The first Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR Track 2 project focused on increasing cyber-connectivity throughout Rhode Island, a critical first step for the state as researchers continue to generate large and complex data sets.
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