Hydrology Days to explore interdisciplinary water research

Water resource management in the western United States

As an established leader in water research, Colorado State University is the perfect setting for the annual American Geophysical Union Hydrology Days meeting in March.

The 39th annual meeting will take place on March 27-29 at the Lory Student Center. Researchers will present their work on water-related initiatives from interdisciplinary programs across campus. The event covers a broad range of water concerns, including agriculture and water rights, sustainability and conservation, social equity and environmental justice, climate change and urbanization, and economics and policy.

The event is organized by the One Water Solutions Institute at Colorado State University, with support from the Colorado Water Center and the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. The meeting features sessions from researchers across campus, keynotes and lectures, and the yearly Hydrology Days Award.

“Water connects us all, and CSU has been an established leader in water research for many years,” said Sarah Millonig, assistant director of the One Water Solutions Institute and Hydrology Days conference coordinator.  “This year we have broadened participation across campus by using water as a connecting theme, to incorporate disciplines outside engineering and hydrology.”

Hydrology Days award and keynotes

Each year, the Hydrology Days Award recognizes significant contributions to hydrologic science. The 2019 recipient is Bridget Scanlon, senior research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin. Scanlon is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

As the Hydrology Days Award recipient, Scanlon will deliver a keynote address on the implications and tools for management of water resources. Scanlon’s keynote will highlight her research in water resources, global assessments using satellites and modeling, management related to climate extremes, and water energy interdependence.

Two other distinguished researchers are invited to present Borland lectures, with one keynote in hydraulics and the other in hydrology. In hydraulics, Fotis Sotiropoulos, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Stony Brook University, will present research on hydraulic engineering in the era of big data and extreme-scale computing. For the hydrology keynote, Nandita Basu, ​​associate professor of Water Sustainability and Ecohydrology at the University of Waterloo, will discuss legacy human impacts on climate change and the future of water resources.

Student Showcase: Hydrology is for everyone

This year’s event provides student researchers their own showcase, a safe and supportive venue where students at different points in their careers can exchange ideas, give presentations and poster sessions of their research, and enhance their scientific communication skills. The showcase offers students an enriching environment that will spark peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.

“If you’re interested in understanding the current state-of-the-science and our water programs at CSU, this is the place to be,” said Mazdak Arabi, director of the One Water Solutions Institute and Hydrology Days chair. “We are exceptionally proud of the work presented by our students and encourage participation from anyone involved in water-related studies.”

Presentations from throughout the university

Presentations will have a general focus on the water cycle and its interactions with land surface, atmospheric, ecosystem, economic and political processes, and all aspects of water resources engineering, management, and policy.

We involved faculty from departments throughout the university to help us design an engaging program with a wide variety of sessions,” said Millonig. “In the future, we’d like to broaden interest into a regional event focusing on water challenges in semiarid regions, particularly in the western United States.”

World Water Day and documentary screening

The meeting’s opening day is also World Water Day, and the Colorado Water Center, in partnership with the Environmental Justice Working Group and the Student Sustainability Center, is hosting a special screening of the award-winning National Geographic documentary Water and Power: A California Heist. The film will be shown at the Lyric Cinema on Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m., with a welcome and remarks prior to screening.