Monday, June 4, 2012

Water Resources and Cyberinfrustructure

How are water resource quality and availability impacted by climate variability, watershed alterations and management activities? This is the question that Wyoming and Utah will address in their new EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) Track II Grant, CI-Water: Cyberinfrustructure to Advance High Performance Water Resource Modeling.

EPSCoR is a federal grant program which aims to help the National Science Foundation (NSF) in promoting scientific research and education throughout the United States. The goal of EPSCoR is to make historically uncompetitive states stronger through improvements to infrastructure. EPSCoR offers two different grants. Track I grants provide up to $4 million for five years for projects designed to support physical, human and cyber infrastructure. Track II grants provide up to $2 million for three years for projects shared between multiple EPSCoR states and centered on cyber infrastructure.  These grants not only make jurisdictions more competitive, but they also establish innovative projects and research designed to benefit entire communities.

The CI-Water project  is a Track II grant shared between EPSCoR programs in Wyoming and Utah. It is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Wyoming, University of Utah, Utah State University and Brigham Young University.  In order to answer the above question, the universities have four primary goals.

1. Enhance cyberinfrustructure facilities~ This includes updating and designing computer systems to support the research to be conducted, enhance watershed modeling and facilitate collaboration between the four universities.
2. Enhance access to data and modeling~ This includes developing easy to use models and data that link past research to current research.
3. Advance high resolution watershed modeling~ This includes revolutionizing watershed modeling through integrating new processes with those already existing.
4. Promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning~ This includes activities not only for EPSCoR groups, but also for elementary school students and teachers; university students, faculty and programs; and adults learners.

Through collaboration, interaction and communication, the CI-Water project will help Wyoming and Utah researchers and communities understand our water resources now and in the future.

~by Kali S. McCrackin

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