The availability and quality of fresh water are critical for a sustainable society. Water scarcity and quality problems occur in many regions of the world, particularly in areas with semi-arid to arid climates. Combined pressures of population growth, economic development, and climate variability expose such regions to water scarcity and are inspiring exploration of alternative sources and conservation strategies.
The current water-based challenges facing the global community, including our region of San Diego County, Northern Baja California, and the Imperial Valley, are projected to intensify and also arguably represent near-future scenarios for many other domestic and international regions.
Fresh water is derived from increasingly limited groundwater, reservoirs, and imported sources, and its regional distribution requires significant energy consumption and health safeguards. The ways in which people withdraw, consume, discharge, store, and release water for social and economic purposes have a profound impact on the vitality of freshwater ecosystems. These impacts interact with the natural hydrology and climate to determine a region’s economic and ecological vitality.
Future water security in many areas of the world, including southern California, will require both increased supply through wastewater reuse and desalination, and demand management through integrated resource management strategies. Non-point-source pollution will continue to harm downstream ecosystems and shallow subsurface aquifers.
Alternative water supply strategies, including wastewater reuse, can also have ecological benefits by reducing discharges into the environment.
Our vision is that SDSU will become a global leader in developing advanced understanding of and solutions for water resources issues in water-scarce areas, using the San Diego-Border region as a model that can be applied in other regions experiencing similar water scarcity, including areas of active research by the 5 core faculty (India, Brazil, Mexico, southern Africa).