Significant opportunities are emerging in the public and private sector to tackle water stewardship: the U.S. Department of Energy has identified the energy-water nexus as an emerging activity that require substantial R&D investment in the coming years, and DOE’s Water Energy Nexus report has identified reclaimed water as a core opportunity for managing water.
Recognizing the potential opportunities in water stewardship, Argonne recently founded the Urban Water Alliance as a regional water partnership to address critical issues in water management. Other founding members include The University of Chicago, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; as well as partners Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the City of Chicago and other major Great Lakes and Midwestern research universities and institutes.
The Urban Water Alliance will bring in experts from other divisions and directorates across the lab to help build and refine data and to develop or enhance existing modeling and analysis tools to understand the balance between water supply and demand and quality. Modeling will be a primary source for evaluating risk in water systems and determining gaps between emerging demand and water supply. The decision tools will identify gaps in infrastructure and technology performance of sensors and detectors, water treatment and nutrient recovery. The partnership will also focus on the development of technology for recovery and reuse of water, energy, and nutrients from used water, thereby enabling reused water to compete economically with fresh, clean water.