Access to water resources is essential for human health and societies, yet freshwater resources are unevenly distributed in space and time, while climate variability and change may intensify conflicts over water. Faculty in this research area are taking a watershed view of today’s toughest challenges — drought and disaster risk, disappearing snowpack, diplomacy between shared basins and more. Their work is transforming knowledge of our landscapes and exploring the human dimensions of this critical issue.

Learn more about areas of distinction in our water program.

Water policy and conflict management faculty take an integrative approach to examining the human, political, and scientific dimensions of water resources within the framework of governance and sustainability. Faculty explore all facets of water conflict transformation, including hydro-diplomacy, conflict resolution, public participation and public policy and law. They collaborate closely with, and advise students from, the Water Resources Graduate Program.

Affiliated faculty: Lynette de Silva, Mary Santelmann, and Aaron Wolf

Faculty in this arena examine the linkages and feedbacks among our climate, landscapes and freshwater resources using field work, modeling, remote sensing and qualitative methods. Research topics extend from impacts of forest management practices on water scarcity, to how climate change affects snowpack and seasonality of precipitation, to climate change adaptation and environmental governance within diverse watersheds.

Affiliated faculty: Hannah Gosnell, Julia Jones, Mark Raleigh, and David Rupp

The water science research thread is closely aligned with forest science, geology, oceanography, climatology, geomorphology, and more. Faculty explore geomorphology, river migrations, the connections between the biosphere and hydrosphere (ecohydrology), transboundary groundwater resources, surface-groundwater interactions, freshwater pollutants, and more.

Affiliated faculty: Michael Campana, Julia Jones, Stephen Lancaster, David Rupp, Mary Santelmann, and Pamela Sullivan