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The WaTER Center’s research is devoted to the development, improvement, and implementation of inexpensive and sustainable technologies that help to bring water and sanitation to the billions currently lacking these basic provisions.

We also study climate variability in order to assess the potential for climate extremes that threaten the availability of clean drinking water, such as droughts and flooding, in order to identify contingency plans to minimize the impact of such events. Undergraduate and graduate researchers assist in this important work in the field, laboratory, and classroom.

WaTER Center research currently centers on the following key areas:

  • Water quality as impacted by geological setting:
    • arsenic mitigation
    • fluoride mitigation

Arsenic and fluoride are the primary inorganic contaminants affecting the safe consumption of groundwater globally. WaTER Center personnel are designing and testing technologies and developing implementation strategies to mitigate excessive arsenic and fluoride around the world.

  • The effects of climate variability on water resources

Climate change impacts on water scarcity and potential flooding are being measured with the use of satellite imagery and remote sensing. Both scarcity and flooding significantly affect the success of sanitation and hygiene initiatives in emerging economies.

  • Passive wetlands treatment of mine-contaminated water

Passive wetland treatment projects are being conducted both in Oklahoma and in Bolivia to improve water contaminated with mine drainage. These treated water sources are needed for drinking, farming and other uses.

  • Dynamic modeling of water resources

Numerical and finite element modeling are being used to predict key areas of future water scarcity in communities in the US and abroad, providing a scientific basis for water resource planning.

  • Sociological and anthropological aspects of behavior modification

Cultures and behaviors are being studied in Ethiopia to determine water treatment methods that are most consistent with the mores of local communities.

  • Social entrepreneurship for sustainable water supply

Social entrepreneurship is being evaluated as a market-based solution that is sustainable over the long term.

With partners in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Bolivia, and Pakistan, the WaTER Center is seeking holistic drinking water and sanitation solutions that are technologically-appropriate, community-sensitive, and sustainable for future generations.