Projects

A significant body of applied water research is already completed, underway, or planned by the Water Center
Current projectsCompleted projects

Current Projects

A Local Decision Makers Guide to Navigating Small Drinking Water and/or Wastewater System Technical Assistance and Financing Options

Creating a thoughtful, objective, straight-talking guide for local elected and appointed decision-makers in under-resourced urban communities. Guide will assist decision-makers in navigating the wide array of options and opportunities for technical assistance and funding resources available to managers, board members, and elected officials responsible for local stormwater management systems. Additionally, the guide will be structured to assist decision-makers in prioritizing and organizing their internal operations before pursuing specific financing opportunities.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

Analysis of Strategic Alternatives for the Duquesne Water System

Providing support to the mayor and city council of Duquesne, PA in identifying and pursuing the steps necessary to ensure a safe, sustainable water distribution system for a financially distressed, shrinking industrial city with severe fiscal and demographic challenges. Identifying key technical, governance and financial challenges, as well as potential sources of financial and technical assistance.  

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

Evaluating the effectiveness of a protocol to counteract online misinformation about drinking water safety

Partnering with Critica Science to develop ways to combat drinking water safety misinformation that can negatively impact individuals’ physical and financial health by providing timely, up-to-date scientifically valid responses. Provide content-specific technical expertise as the need arises during the implementation of the research project and collaborate in the authorship of publications to disseminate information on strategies developed.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

Roadmap for a Delaware River Upgrade for Recreational Use in Philadelphia and Camden

Developing a roadmap for policymakers to identify steps to improve water quality in the 27-mile stretch of the Delaware River from Philadelphia and Camden to Chester with the goal of achieving a primary contact recreational designation. Project will outline options to help accomplish several outcomes:  1) identify when and where water quality in the Delaware may presently be safe enough for recreational activities, 2) begin to assemble technical information for a system to alert potential users when the water quality does not meet standards for primary contact recreation, and 3) provide stakeholders with a scientifically informed framework of the current state of water quality, expected improvements from work the region has already committed to, and opportunities and costs of additional improvements.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

      

Three Rivers Watershed Action Network and Leadership Incubator

Supporting generation of the necessary political will for integrated water resource management.  Key strategies include expanding support beyond a small group of highly sophisticated stakeholders deeply engaged in current challenges along the Three Rivers Watershed, to engage the larger community – from the urban core to rural stakeholders and building, leveraging and expanding upon the many successful local initiatives already under way.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

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Links/Attachments

Accelerating Transformational Change in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Phase 1 Report

SW PA Water Network First Stakeholder Workshop Report – Dec 2019

Water as the Universal Connector in West Philadelphia

Offerings students a unique opportunity to work in and with the historically under-resourced community of West Philadelphia to harness and synthesize arts, citizen science, and Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education. Students will engage in an extensive literature review, involving communication with university professors and local stakeholders to understand the urban and environmental history of the Cobbs Creek area. This effort will also create a constructive dialogue between the university and its surrounding community regarding environmental and economic justice. Through this project, The Water Center is working to enhance the overall ecosystem health of our shared neighborhood through a focus on water.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Completed Projects

Accelerating Transformational Change in Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers

Provide an initial assessment of Pittsburgh’s State of its Waters and identify the priorities and drivers of the region’s leading water stakeholders. Identify the threats, opportunities, challenges and weaknesses of Pittsburgh’s critical water issues and create a roadmap for a collaborative multi-stakeholder strategic planning process that will improve the quality and access to water resources for all constituents across Pittsburgh’s three rivers.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Developing a Foundation for Affordable Water in Great Lakes Cities

Provide research, evaluation of existing affordability programs nationwide, technical assistance and policy guidance to the City of South Bend to develop an effective water affordability program for its residents

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

Drink Philly Tap

Support the development and implementation of the Drink Philly Tap project formed to empower residents of Philadelphia with information and knowledge to choose drinking tap water over bottled water.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

Healthy Public Water Systems in the Great Lakes Basin

Understand the underlying issues that caused the water failures in Flint, Michigan and determine whether similar conditions exist in other small, post-industrial, and economically shrinking cities in the Great Lakes region of the US.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

Integrated Water Management for Cities

Provide policy guidance and technical assistance on the principles of integrated water management (IWM) in three cities including in South Bend, Indiana, Toledo, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with particular focus on how IWM can help create affordable access to water services.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

Integrated Water Management (IWM) in the Lower Susquehanna Watershed

Investigate opportunities for system integration and program coordination and demonstrate new methods of using collaborative partnerships to manage water, equity and justice issues in the three largest cities of the Lower Susquehanna watershed – Harrisburg, York, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Stormwater Utilities and Other Innovative Regional Financing Solutions for the Protection and Restoration of the Delaware River Watershed

Explore innovative regional financing solutions designed to encourage new stormwater utilities (and associated fees) and identify novel approaches for bringing new financial resources to bear in the protection and restoration of Delaware River waterways. Create a tool kit of financing options for water policy and program managers to draw from and examine the case for considering regional models in watershed management. Propose four innovative financial mechanisms that to date have only been gently probed, but are worthy of much deeper feasibility analysis.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

The Challenges of Public Water Sector Utilities

Contribute to report for city Mayors on solutions to challenges faced by public water utilities with particular focus on privatization of water systems.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Project Partners

 

Transforming New Jersey’s Water Infrastructure: A Call to Action and Innovation

Produce a strategy document for the transformation of New Jersey’s Water Infrastructure, with the goal of opening a new dialogue with regional and national stakeholders on the costs, needs and approaches to solving New Jersey’s water infrastructure crisis.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Water Affordability and Equity Conference

Conference exploring innovative regional solutions designed to encourage new stormwater utilities and novel approaches for bringing new financial resources to bear in the protection and restoration of our waterways.

Water Center Project Lead

Funding Partner

Affiliations

Framework & Tools for Quantifying Green Infrastructure Co-Benefits

The Water Center at Penn is helping to develop a comprehensive framework and supporting an Excel-based tool to help utilities quantify the financial, social, and environmental benefits of GI at the community level. The framework and tool will lead utilities through each step of the TBL analysis, from establishing a baseline, to identifying and valuing applicable benefits, to developing useful outputs and appropriately comparing benefits and costs

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