Conference: Salt contamination of water supplies in tidal rivers

  • Ralston, David K. (CoPI)
  • Li, Ming (PI)
  • Kaushal, Sujay (CoPI)
  • Chant, Robert (CoPI)
  • Mejia, Alfonso I. (CoPI)

Project Details


Access to clean and safe drinking water is critical to public health and economic prosperity. About 70% of U.S. drinking water comes from surface waters, including the tidal fresh regions of estuaries. Drought, sea level rise, watershed and port & harbor engineering, and changes in land-use are increasingly threatening such water supplies in coastal regions due to increasing risk of salinization. The risk extends to water extraction from the coastal zones for thermoelectric power, irrigation, and industrial production. This project will bring together an interdisciplinary team of researchers and stakeholders to assess the risks of salt contamination of water supplies in tidal rivers, synthesize the current understanding and identify knowledge gaps. A better understanding of climatic and other anthropogenic effects on the water supplies will be valuable for bolstering the resilience of water infrastructure and protecting public health.A series of virtual web panels and an in-person workshop will be organized to assess the science on this emerging topic. Case studies of saltwater intrusion and freshwater salinization in tidal rivers in the US and around the world will be discussed and synthesized. The workshop will bring together national and international communities of diverse researchers working on the interdisciplinary aspects of salt contamination of water supplies in tidal rivers, involving senior and early-career scientists, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. The workshop will include outreach activities through engagement with stakeholders involved in water management, conservation, drinking water treatment operations, and will include participants from the agricultural, industrial, municipal and power generation sectors that rely on access to freshwater sources. The overall goals are twofold: (1) publish a systematic review paper to synthesize current understanding of this interdisciplinary topic and identify major knowledge gaps; (2) produce a forward-looking workshop report to create a research vision and guide future research activities on salt contamination of water supplies in coastal zones.This award is co-funded by the Hydrologic Sciences and Physical Oceanography programs.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date2/15/231/31/25


  • National Science Foundation: $99,999.00


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