Finding real world solutions to our shared water problems demands that we collaborate with a vast spectrum of stakeholders—from local volunteers and community groups, to the Water Utility CEO, to the experts from the technology and consulting industries, to the academic researcher and to their students who will become our next generation of leaders.

Faculty Researchers and Students

Get involved and help us build a brighter future for urban water system resiliency and sustainability across the globe.

Water Practitioners

Influence the next generation of water professionals by sharing your challenges, your priorities and your innvoations and knowledge.

The Water Technology and Consulting Community

Learn how you can support and coordinate with water research at Penn, or become a sponsor!


Whether you are a volunteer from the local civic group or environmental organization, or in leadership at a major NGO, we want to include your perspective and voice  in everything we do.

Practitioners: Water Utilities and Affiliated Networks

The Water Center at Penn has the potential to foster an enormous impact for water utility practitioners. Utility manager and operators can take advantage of our network to connect to cutting-edge research and ideas. They will be able to transfer these ideas and technologies with each other, researchers at Penn, and our sponsors. They can share their successes and failures, as well as work together to resolve barriers preventing them from successfully implementing their strategies. The Water Center at Penn will host workshops and conferences to bring these experts together to build a more sustainable future for our world’s water systems. Further, through projects from our sponsors, water utilities can even begin to implement these solutions in their cities, sponsor projects, or conduct research themselves.

Water hubs (regional areas of focused water research and/or water industry scientific technology advancements) have sprung up across the United States. The Water Center at Penn will act as a connecting point between the Philadelphia water community and these hubs across the world. The Water Center at Penn will address shared problems that these utilities face, such as, regulation revision, privatization, financing, and innovating.

Related institutions include:


Academics: Penn and Philadelphia Academic Community

The University of Pennsylvania has the reputation and intellectual capacity to house a water policy and science research center in a safe and trusted environment. The water world is often complex, fragmented, and fought over. By connecting our water researchers across the schools of the University, we can better leverage our capacity as a great water university in a great water city.

The University’s Philadelphia location is at the heart of one of the world’s leading cities in sustainable water innovation, research, and policy development. The Greater Philadelphia region holds the headquarters to three of the world’s largest water companies (American Water Works Company, GE Water, and AQUA American Water) and Philadelphia Water is one of the world’s most innovative public utilities. Research done by the University of Pennsylvania and the surrounding community, relevant to making meaningful change in the water industry, includes: engineering and technology, social sciences and environmental health, as well as business, policy, and urban planning.

Engineering and Technology

Research done by the engineering and technology arms of the University of Pennsylvania and other Philadelphia academic institutions can contribute substantially to water organizations that support the industry. By connecting researchers with industry and utility leaders early on in their projects, the Water Center at Penn can accelerate the introduction and implementation of new technologies, and help shape research to be real-world-applicable. Engineering and technology research can include pipe materials, robotics, metering, big data analysis tools, membrane research, and much more.

Social Sciences and Environmental Health

The University of Pennsylvania has already invested millions of dollars managing its campus’ water resources. It has designed and built some of the most innovative examples of green roofs (Neural & Behavioral Sciences Building) and rain gardens (Shoemaker Green). The University has recently extended its campus to cross the Schuylkill River and is a major sponsor of the return of access, safety, and aesthetic and water quality improvements to this major water body. Research being done at the University in social science and environmental health can be aided by the Water Center acting as a starting point to engage industry and practice professionals – steering research in the direction of real world issues, and applying this research without the lag time associated with the typical academia-industry pipeline. 

Business, Policy, and Urban Planning

The Water Center will attract attention and funding from new government, industry, NGO, and foundation sources, with the added benefit of recruiting individuals with unique expertise to the School’s cross-disciplinary research efforts. This can include research on environmental justice and the impact of the changing water system on our urban planning, government policy and the impact our cities have on our ecosystem, and the rapidly changing business environment surrounding the water industry. Today, the University of Pennsylvania has research at the cutting edge of Water Management, but often those findings can wait years before impacting real water utilities and vendors. The goal of the Water Center at Penn is to act as an intermediary, connecting this brilliant research with the real needs of practitioners.

Related University of Pennsylvania Institutes include:

Related University of Pennsylvania academic schools include:

Related institutions include:

Industry: Utility Vendor Community

The utility vendor community is a critical source of innovation for the world’s water network. Software companies like Bentley Systems provides critical services to design, construct, and operate a city’s water infrastructure. GE Water and Suez Water provide innovative tools for practitioners use, revolutionizing how cutting-edge water utility networks are run. Consulting firms run important audits of water utility infrastructure. Metering companies like Itron, Badger, and Honeywell provide critical infrastructure that our cities use to track consumer water. All of these vendors can take advantage of the incredible research done at the University of Pennsylvania and the network formed from the Water Center at Penn.

Related utility vendors include:

Community: Local Environment Groups and Community Leaders

A critical component to any research, planning or actions performed for the benefit of the water environment is the engagement of the local government, environmental organizations, consumer advocates and community leaders. In fact, community participation and outreach to help create solutions to issues of environmental justice, social equity and water affordability is not only a vital aspect to urban water management, but to student involvement and learning.  In the Philadelphia area, the Netter Center has led University efforts to forge relationships with various community groups and local officials—particularly in our more disadvantaged communities— and promoted improved health, equity, and education.  Drawing in urban water management can aid communities not only with flood resistance, water quality, water affordability, access to waterfronts and waterways, but also serve to provide trees, open space, impact property values and improve health and reduce the urban heat island effect.  But this can only be accomplished with the strong and early involvement of local citizens and community groups.

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