Previous efforts to address water security have been stymied by the complexity of water policy issues and the patchwork of stakeholders and system funding mechanisms. Although it is not engineering’s role to address those complexities, focused efforts to leverage today’s confluence of research advancements in silicon chips and artificial intelligence, for example, offers a timely opportunity to gain traction and enable solutions. The tools, technologies, systems, and management approaches discussed in this report can bring transformative change to the way society confronts water resource sustainability challenges and the impacts of climate change. Such was the consensus of participants at a recent visioning workshop convened by the Engineering Research Visioning Alliance (ERVA) to identify roles for the engineering research community in achieving secure water systems for the future.
Five explored core engineering topics with substantial potential for impact are considered:
The aim of this report is to inspire researchers and sponsors (public, private, and nonprofit) to pursue these priorities. ERVA challenges readers to disseminate this report and prioritize areas with potential for the greatest return on investment.