The Water Security Initiative (WSI) seeks to provide data-driven, analytically sound assessments of water security based on consideration of the coupled natural-human systems. We develop and use effective metrics, models, and analytics of the coupled systems to improve society’s long-term water challenges. The initiative targets key threats to water security, including poverty, climate change, governance and social marginalization, and we seek to understand the complex dynamics of coupled social and environmental systems impacted by challenges, such as decreasing supplies of potable water, in the coming years.
Our mission is unique in that this initiative seeks to establish a robust, cross-regional comparative context in which to develop key analytics and standardized assessments to benchmark current water security situations at multiple scales. We also seek to develop water insecurity models and evaluate progress and performance of policy, program, and technical interventions and evaluate how these impact the natural and human systems.
Faculty associates and students examine wide-ranging topics that cut across the three core themes: (1) household water security & sanitation, (2) water governance & security, and (3) coupled hydro-environmental systems and society. Critical to the goals of the initiative is to create a research and teaching community to support individual research water security interests and foster teams that can also address the coupled human and natural processes related to questions of water security for present and future sustainable needs based on a fundamental understanding of the hydrological cycle and their environmental impacts. Our publications and research projects demonstrate the interdisciplinary approaches required to identify, describe, and assess current multi-scalar water security challenges –from the household to the globe.