SOW Project

Operationalizing sustainability and resilience in communities through “Smart One Water (SOW)” systems is the overarching vision of this Engineering Research Center (ERC). The SOW will create the next frontier of convergent decision support ecosystems that

(i) Encompass cyber, physical, and social technologies across a spectrum of scales as well as natural and built water systems

(ii) Empower small and large communities in river basins across the US and the world to balance competing demands for water resources and services in a way that is both sustainable and resilient to multiple threats.

The proposed ERC is critical to accomplishing this grand SOW vision via integration of fundamental and convergent research with technological innovation that advances national prosperity, health, and security. Enabled by recent breakthroughs in digital infrastructure, analytics and automation technologies, and human-computer interfaces, the ERC will galvanize novel convergent research, education, institutional interactions, innovative partnerships, and extensive stakeholder engagement at the scales required to achieve the SOW vision.


A pathway to sustainability and resiliency for water sector

Water in the natural environment, drinking water, wastewater, storm water, and agricultural water are all managed and engineered differently; however, they are all part of the water cycle, with water moving into and out of these different systems. The One Water approach seeks to break the siloed management of water and adopt a sustainable and resilient system that not only provides basic services but also uses water to preserve and enhance ecosystems, provide urban amenities, and connect people more closely to their water resources. The water continuum, shown in Figure illustrates the current separate systems that were developed over time to address specific problems (left and middle). The far right is the future we envision where management and technology tools enable integration of planning across the whole natural and engineered water cycle.


Integrated water management enabled by digital transformation

The SOW ERC will integrate water systems data with a wide range of models and tools, which will form the basis for developing cyberinfrastructure and stakeholder-centered decision-making system platforms. We will build on advances in IoT, data analytics and automation to develop an artificial intelligence-enabled platform. This platform will connect data and models for engineered and natural water systems to those for the coexisting social systems. This integration will enable sustainable, resilient management of the water system around the country and the world.