Through research and education, the College of Public Health recognizes that water quality and availability are critical components of human health. Within the college’s Environmental Health Sciences program, the Community, Environment and Policy Division incorporates water-related research in promoting the health of individuals and communities. Specific research includes the behavior and removal of waterborne pathogens and contaminants.
Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
The Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) focuses on engineering for biological systems and water resources, as well as managing those systems and related environmental issues. ABE conducts research on agricultural irrigation, and its extension program is centered on agricultural water systems engineering. Some of the program’s research and education takes place at UA’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center.
Agricultural and Resource Economics
The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC) offers a wealth of resources related to the economics of water. AREC faculty members have researched the cost of using, cleaning, and allocating water, water demand, and the impacts of industry on water quality, among other issues. Also, the department’s extension program specializes in natural resource policy, risk management, crop and livestock budgets, and more.
Chemical and Environmental Engineering
The Chemical and Environmental Engineering (CHEE) mission includes developing technology in the areas of contaminant detection and remediation, environmental technology, biotechnology, and nano-scale device manufacturing in order to foster the knowledge-based economy in Arizona and the nation. Many of these technologies apply to water use and quality. Research projects in CHEE have led to developments in real-time water sensors, desalination facilities, and contaminant removal. The department also houses the SRC/Sematech Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing. Faculty members are active in the Superfund Research Program and algae biofuels research on campus.
Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
The Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (CEEM) explores topics such as modeling hydrodynamics, sediment transport, bank erosion, alluvial channel developing processes, and water reuse, supply and distribution. Faculty teams also work on decision support models for real-world water management applications. CEEM has a student internship placement program, which can help students to work in professional environments related to water.
Mining and Geological Engineering
The Department of Mining and Geological Engineering is actively involved in studying environmental and water-related subjects in the areas of geomechanics, sustainable development, and surface and subsurface characterization. Faculty draw on research from both university and private-sector laboratories, and collaborate with University of Arizona researchers from more than 45 academic units and across 9 colleges. The Department hosts the J. David Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources and the Henry G. "Hank" Grundstedt San Xavier Underground Mining Laboratory.
Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences studies the recognized areas of hydrologic and atmospheric science: catchment hydrology, environmental risk and uncertainty, groundwater modeling, interaction of surface and subsurface hydrology, contaminant fate and transport, weather forecasting, remote sensing, and hydrometeorology. Faculty members collaborate with visiting professors and international communities and offer professional advice to Arizona communities.
Arizona Cooperative Extension
The Cooperative Extension, an outreach arm of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, serves as a statewide network of knowledgeable faculty and staff that provides lifelong educational programs for all Arizonans. It is part of a nationwide network that helps people solve problems and puts knowledge to use. Water-related programs include aquaculture, watershed stewardship, irrigation water management, onsite wastewater, safe drinking water, smartscaping and turfgrass.
Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center
Located in the College of Public Health, the Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center provides expertise to industry, the community and researchers in the areas of human exposure science and risk assessment of chemical, biological and physical hazards to workers and communities. The center has a focus area in water quality assessment of biological and chemical contaminants. Collaborators have experience in water quality research such as drinking water risk perception, well water quality analysis, biological contaminant sampling and waterborne exposure assessment.
Superfund Research Program
The Superfund Research Program uses an interdisciplinary approach to study hazardous waste issues in the U.S. Southwest and the Mexico border. Biomedical and environmental scientists collaborate to investigate risks, develop remediation strategies and translate research findings to government stakeholders and the affected community. Research focuses on arsenic, chlorinated solvents and mine tailings.
Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining
The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining is a university-industry collaborative that addresses environmental issues related to mining in arid and semi-arid urban environments. The center, an initiative of UA's Superfund Research Program, works with mining companies in Arizona to develop new environmentally responsible technologies and practices that reduce pollution and ensure water availability throughout the state.
Renewable Energy Network
The Renewable Energy Network is a university-wide initiative designed to support the expanded regional, national, and global use of abundant, clean, and economical renewable energy by connecting community and industry to the UA’s research and educational programs. In partnership with researchers, students, business and government leaders, the network works to understand the link between energy and water and improve access to these services.
Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center
The Water and Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center is a state-of-the-art facility for water reuse research focused on water quality monitoring, treatment technologies, alternative energy sources, and education and training to advance the water and wastewater industry. The center is a unique collaboration between UA, Pima County, Tucson Water and numerous other public and private sector entities to ensure a reliable supply and quality of potable water for arid regions around the world. It is currently being constructed on Pima County’s new Water Reclamation Campus.
Controlled Environment Agriculture Center
The Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (CEAC) offers an innovation platform for plant physiology, sensor technology and applied computer technology research and supports education, research, and extension/outreach as part of the Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering and the School of Plant Sciences. Its facilities include advanced technology greenhouses, hydroponic growth chambers, and laboratory and teaching facilities.