Water Resources

Water Resources

Pioneering Sustainable Solutions for a Better Tomorrow

Water resources engineers plan and design infrastructure systems to provide clean drinking water, collect and treat wastewater, supply water for agriculture, protect from floods, prevent adverse water quality impacts, increase efficiency, address greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigate drought impacts. Today’s exciting opportunities for civil engineers include applications of smart technologies, distributed sensor systems, artificial intelligence, natural systems, biotechnology, robots, social sensing, and more to make water systems of all kinds more sustainable and resilient.

Research Areas

Drinking Water Treatment
Drought Mitigation
Agricultural Engineering
Wastewater Reclamation

Our Impact

The work being done by engineers in water resources has a far-reaching impact, from influencing policy decisions to driving innovation in industry. We collaborate with governmental agencies, non-profits, and private sector partners to ensure that our research findings translate into real-world applications. By bridging the gap between academia and practice, we are making a tangible difference in the world.

$500,000 National Science Foundation Grant for Dr. Goel's Wastwater Treatment Research

Dr. Ramesh Goel received a National Science Foundation grant for more than $500,000 in June of 2023 for his work toward energy efficient waste water treatment. The project is titled GOALI: Understanding Granulation Using Microbial Resource Management for The Broader Application of Granular Technology.

In collaboration with an industrial partner, DC Water, this academia-industry collaboration will generate a new body of knowledge related to full-scale applications of granular technology based on fundamental research and Dr. Goel’s track record in activated sludge systems, nutrient management, granular technology and omics.

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Leading Efforts on COVID-19 Research in Wastewater

In knowing how other pathogens appear in wastewater, Dr. Weidhaas realized in the midst of the pandemic that there was a need to test wastewater for COVID-19. However, when she reached out to the State of Utah to see if anyone was looking at this unique perspective of the virus, no one was.

Dr. Weidhaas partnered with the state and started pilot testing to determine the correlation between COVID-19 in the waste water and the number of cases found in certain areas. Her research has shown a correlation between the levels found in the waste water and the number of cases in certain areas. This data is being reported back to the Department of Health to provide modeling data.

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Research Spotlight

Research Spotlight: Safeguarding Our Water

Dr. Weidhaas’ research interests emphasize biological processes and the fate and transport of contaminants and microorganisms in the environment. Her recent projects include evaluation of emerging contaminants in environmental systems, industrial wastewater treatment, waterborne pathogen detection and wastewater reuse. She also conducts research in the area of environmental microbiology including microbial source tracking, development of massively parallel pathogen detection methods, and evaluation of microorganism fate in environmental systems.

Contributing to Water Security in Pakistan

Due to global climate change, mismanagement, politics, inadequate technology, rapid population growth, and economic hardships, Pakistan is experiencing a water crises that could lead them to become a "water-starved" country. University of Utah Civil & Environmental engineers are working to change that.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that the University of Utah has partnered with the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology in Jamshoro, Pakistan, to create a research center to develop solutions for water problems plaguing Pakistan. Originally led by former U professor Dr. Steve Burian, the project is now managed by Dr. Michael Barber of our department.

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