Engaging the University community with regional decision makers, national thought leaders and global water practitioners for the purpose of developing integrated and innovative urban water strategies that address public health, infrastructure, and the socioeconomic and environmental challenges of long-term urban water sustainability and resilience.

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To be the preeminent center that provides integrated real-world solutions to critical urban water problems


The Water Center at Penn supports the resiliency, sustainability and equity of urban water systems through guidance, assistance and by directing applied collaborative research 

In The News

Keeping Rain Out of the Drain June 3, 2019 (Story from PennToday)

Putting Mussels to the Test May 9, 2019 (Story from Penn Today)

Water Center Happenings

There’s a straight line from water access to social progress, according to Eleanor Allen, CEO of the international nonprofit Water for People. “If we don’t have basic services, if we don’t know where we’re going to go to the bathroom,” she explained, “how can we concentrate on creating a better future for ourselves?”

As part of the keynote talk at this year’s Global Water Alliance (GWA) meeting, held at Penn, Allen laid out the rationale that drives her organization’s mission of ensuring that people around the world have access to clean, reliable water that can help break the cycle of poverty and set the stage for economic growth, a trajectory that paves the way for social progress.


Water Management and Policy: Local and Global Perspectives Symposium

Date: June 7, 2019 9am – 4pm

Location: PSt. Jones National Estuarine Research Reserve (818 Kitts Hummock Rd, Dover, DE 19901)

This FREE symposium will include the topics: 1) Managing Water Resources: Law, policy, and partnerships, 2) Research to action: Bridging the gap between doing research and making policy, and 3) Projects and strategies for managing water resources. Speakers for this symposium will be announced shortly on our website. The deadline to register for the Student Poster Competition with monetary awards is Friday, May 24th at 5 PM and the deadline to register for the symposium is Friday, May 31st at 5 PM. **Space is limited!**
Here is the link to register for the symposium:
Please check our website,, for the speakers and agenda.



Design With Nature

Date: June 21-22, 2019

Location: University of Pennsylvania, School of Design

Design With Nature Now will highlight dynamic and visionary approaches to landscape design and development in the face of climate change and urbanization.

Taking as its point of departure the landmark book Design With Nature (1969) by Ian McHarg, the project comprises three parallel exhibitions supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, an anthology published by the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, and a major international conference featuring leading design thinkers and practitioners from around the globe.

This two-day conference will open on June 21 with a keynote discussion between Ursula Heise and Erle Ellis, followed by an opening reception in the Design with Nature Now exhibition–which documents 25 built and unbuilt projects exemplifying what it means to design with nature, now. There, visitors can explore projects like Room for the River (H+N+S), Freshkills Park (JCFO), and New Urban Ground (dlandstudio + ARO).

The event will continue on June 22 with panel discussions involving James Corner, Anne Whiston Spirn, Nina-Marie Lister, Rob Holmes, and many others. It promises to be a singular event for anyone involved in design, climate change, and planning.

The conference is sponsored by Carl and Roberta Dranoff, Biohabitats, ESRI, OLIN, WRT, James Corner Field Operations, MIthun, Civitas, Hargreaves Associatesand Rhodside & Harwell



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