Water Center announces seven grant recipients

The CSU Water Center has selected four multi-disciplinary teams and three individual faculty members as recipients of competitive grants totaling $129,553 for 2017-18.

The seven projects involve 25 faculty members and eight students from across campus. True to the mission of the Water Center, these projects involve water research, teaching, and engagement through interdisciplinary collaboration and creative scholarship among faculty and students.

Among the topics research teams will explore include:

  • Metal impacts on stream ecosystems.
  • Quantifying the impact of permanently drying up agricultural land due to rural to urban water transfers.

Individual faculty members will examine:

  • Factors that drive residential and commercial water demand.
  • Fish conversation methods in extreme habitats.
Tony Cheng, Forest and Rangeland Stewardship

Reducing forest fuels, protecting water supplies

Tony Cheng, professor in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship in the Warner College of Natural Resources, is leading a nine-person team that will research the effect of reducing forest fuels on wildfire severity and post-fire erosion.

“Drought and warming temperatures are increasing the risk of large, severe forest wildfires in Colorado and throughout the western U.S., prompting forest land managers and water providers to invest millions of dollars to reduce flammable fuel loads to protect water supplies,” said Cheng. “Our research team has been developing new methods to quantify the effectiveness of these forest management activities, with the intent of providing investors with metrics indicating return on their investments. The Water Center’s Water Research Team award will allow us to extend the reach and impact of our research to address this important issue.”

Susan De Long, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Removing pharmaceuticals, personal care product chemicals

Susan De Long, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering, heads up a four-member group working to remove certain contaminants from water supplies.

“Pharmaceutical and personal care product chemicals are now routinely being detected in lakes, rivers and even drinking water, because conventional wastewater treatment plants do not effectively remove these chemicals from our water,” De Long said. “Some of these chemicals have also been found in foods that were irrigated with water containing very low levels of these contaminants. Our research is focused on developing low cost, environmentally sustainable technologies to remove these contaminants from our waters using naturally occurring, safe types of bacteria. The Water Center funding is allowing us to advance our understanding of which bacteria are most useful using next-generation gene sequencing technologies.”

‘Green’ water planning

Portrait of Kelly Curl
Kelly Curl, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture

Kelly Curl, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in the College of Agricultural Sciences, is one of three water faculty fellows. Curl’s research focuses on integrating green infrastructure within land-use and water planning.

“As our population continues to increase, it will become ever more critical that the inclusion of successful green infrastructure becomes integrated within land-use planning and water planning,” said Curl. “We must look to the regional scale for the success of water efficient landscapes within our built environment. I would like to thank the CSU Water Center for giving me the opportunity to initiate my research goals on this critical topic.”


Faculty across campus

The CSU Water Center brings together more than 200 faculty members from various colleges and departments to promote water-related research to students, staff and community members.

The Water Center helps to foster CSU’s capacity to address various water-related topics while advancing the university as a center of water excellence and a leader in water scholarship. Through its organizational efforts, the Water Center brings together water faculty, staff, and students who are better equipped to work toward improving water in Colorado, the U.S., and internationally.

CSU Water Center has funded 26 interdisciplinary research teams, 10 faculty fellows, and one symposium planning team since 2014, totaling more than $675,000. These projects have resulted in more than $11 million in external funding. The Water Center’s call for proposals is released in January of each year and is open to all CSU faculty and research scientists.

Read about last year’s projects or for more information.