Challenges and Opportunities in Water Resources Research and Education
George M. Hornberger, Distinguished Professor,
The recent NRC report "Challenges and Opportunities in the Hydrologic Sciences" noted that research and education in water resources will be different in the future than today primarily because humans have become such a dominant part of the water cycle. This observation leads to several conclusions. In addition to important work in the many disciplinary areas that are part of water resources science and engineering, there is a need for interdisciplinary research that takes advantage of cutting edge technologies to grapple with the complex water related challenges of today and tomorrow. To solve today's complex water problems, scientists, engineers, and water managers need disciplinary depth and intellectual breadth to bridge disciplines and the ability to communicate science to policy makers effectively. Multi-way interactions among scientists, engineers, water managers, and decision makers (termed "translational hydrologic science" in the NRC report) are needed to connect science and decision making more closely in order to address increasingly urgent water policy issues. I will discuss research and education challenges associated with these issues, in part using Vanderbilt's ongoing work in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to provide context. I will pay special attention to the role and necessity of integrated, interdisciplinary research.
Reception to follow: 5:00-6:00 pm, Latham Ballroom