2021 Joint AWRA National Capital Water Symposium
Human Dimension to Resilient and Sustainable Water Management: Promoting Integrated Collaboration 
 April 15-16, 2021
Invited Speakers - Videos




Keynote – April 15

Mustafa Ali


Keynote – April 16

Tom Kennedy


Luncheon Speaker

April 16

Melissa D. Ho


Panel 1

Water Justice and COVID-19

Letitia Carpenter, US Water Alliance


Sydney Collins, Buffalo Sewer Authority


Maureen Taylor, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization


Panel 2

Social Hydrology: A Paradigm Shift Toward  More Resilient Water Resources Management

Dr. Murugesu Sivapalan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Dr. Vikram Mehta - Center for Research on the Changing Earth System (CRCES), Catonsville, MD


Dr. William Shuster - Wayne State University, Detroit, MI


Panel 3

Innovations in water resource management

Dr. Emily Berglund, North Carolina State University


Dr. Peter Grevatt, The Water Research Foundation


D. Jon Freedman, SUEZ’s Water Technologies & Solutions


Panel 4

Green water- infrastructure in circular cities

Anna Shipp, Executive Director, The Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia


Dr. Cecilia Tortajada, University of Glasgow, U.K


Karen Firehock,Director and co-founder of the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC)

Topical Session Slides
The wicked water problems of the Navajo Nation and efforts to address them - PDF

Sharon B. Megdal1, Crystal Tulley-Cordova2, Nikki Tulley3, Bidtah Becker4, Karletta Chief5

1Director, University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center;  2 Principal Hydrologist, Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources; 3Ph.D. student, University of Arizona Department of Environmental Science; 4 Associate Attorney, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority; 5 Associate Professor and Associate Extension Specialist, University of Arizona

Symposium Presentations
Session 1. Innovations in Water Resource Management
1. Regional opportunities for sustainable uses of stormwater runoff 
2. The art of innovative collaborative ecosystem management 
3. Investigating the agricultural water reuse adoption by U.S. farmers using a Bayesian Network Model  
4. One Water Cities: Ideas and lessons learned from coast to coast 
5. Rethinking water supply-demand studies in Utah  
6. Partnering with water users and leveraging technology to improve water management outcomes in Nebraska  
7. The Water Sustainability Atlas: Leading innovation in water resilience  
8. Roundtable fosters collaboration among the collaborators: The Benefits and challenges of a voluntary water management network  
9. Stormwater masterplanning for climate change/sea level rise adaptation at the Town of Lake Park, Florida  
10. Refining water budgets in small Pacific Island drainage basins: Spatio-temporal variations in runoff coefficients derived from daily rainfall maps 
11. Integrated water resource & optimization platform addresses competing water interests: A California Irrigation District case study  
12. Quantifying irrigated landscape at a statewide scale: California’s approach and results  
Session 2. Advances in Data Management & Emerging Technologies
1. Watershed delineation outcomes based on LiDAR and ASTER geospatial datasets  
2. An experiment of updating more state variables with the assimilation of LAI in a land surface model over the global domain  
3. Reliable drought prediction using long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network 
4. Flood watch monitoring and observations for a high hazard dam – a Microsoft O365 solution 
5. Comprehensive predictive analytics and causal inference framework for water main breaks with spatiotemporal data 
 6. Evaluating multiple, innovative forecast-informed reservoir operation (FIRO) alternatives at Lake Mendocino in the Russian River Basin 
7. Recent advances in water temperature modelling and climate change for water resources management 
8. Today’s climate resilient stormwater management infrastructure turns to the Cloud 
Session 3. International Research & Global Perspectives 
1. Food-Energy-Water Nexus in the Mekong Basin impacted by anthropogenic activities  
2. Dying Yamuna River in Delhi 
3. The economics of sustainable water supply solutions for Regional NSW, Australia 
4. Water governance and climate change: Perspective SW region in Bangladesh 
Session 4. Social Equity & Human Dimension of Water Management
1. Leveraging sustainable water investments to build social equity and climate resilience  

2. Social equity in climate change adaptation programs: A statistical analysis of participation in the NYS Climate Smart Communities Program

3. Transforming changes in water management with systems thinking: A Decision framework for economic and conservation harmony

4. Human-centered selection of sustainable WASH solutions to challenges on water and sanitation access in underserved communities in the US and abroad

5. Incremental retreat: Leveraging checkerboard buyouts in flood prone neighborhoods

Session 5. Advances in Water Education & Outreach
1. Mobilizing local-level building characteristic data for better water resource planning and floodplain management 
2. Human-centered design for virtual water education – How to create, validate, and launch online programs and events in the virtual Water Education Lab

3. Educating water utility leaders on the need for, approaches to, and funding opportunities for water asset management – a human-centered design approach to virtual water education

4. Bridging the gap of water and land use

5. Hack the Bay: Leveraging citizen science for an innovative approach to Chesapeake Bay restoration
Poster Presentations
1. COVID-19 wastewater surveillance at Siena College: Lessons from the field
2.  Improvements to an urban campus rain garden
3. Estimating future precipitation extremes in Ellicott City, MD: Temporal downscaling, uncertainty quantification, and implementation in urban stormwater infrastructure design
4. In-tree stem water potential innovations
5. Hardness removal from the extremely hard LRGV tap water using electrically conductive concrete
 6. Assessing the Effect of Clean River Projects on the downstream tributaries of the Anacostia River in Washington DC: A case study of Escherichia coli

7. Assessing Priority Pollutant Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and Metal Elements in the Downstream Tributaries of the Anacostia River in Washington DC

8. COVID-19 pandemic and water demand

9. Statistical analysis of water demand changes


SAVE THE DATE: April 15-16, 2021 



Networking opportunities will be available using the Wonder Platform: Click here for the wonder video with networking instructions.



Join AWRA for a two-day conference engaging cross-disciplinary interactions; all focused around the next phase of water sustainability. Special sessions will focus on the idea of circular economies, managing for the unknown such as the COVID-19 pandemic, social hydrology, environmental justice, and innovations in water resource management. 


Conference Details

Modern society since the industrial revolution has mainly adopted linear water production and consumption practices. Water is withdrawn from rivers, reservoirs, and aquifers for agricultural, industrial, and water supply purposes and then typically treated and disposed back into the streams. In recent years, due to high water demand resulting from population growth and consumerism, water resources professionals have been engaged in promoting water conservation and developing alternative water source technologies such as desalination and wastewater reuse. Even though such efforts have been tremendous, they still have a long way to go to achieve full success. Recent efforts have been focused on creating a more circular economy, which aims to produce more efficient resource systems (including water and wastewater), design out waste and pollution, retain products and materials currently in use, and regenerate natural systems. The transformative potential of circularity in the water sector is that water within a such a system is not specific to a single industry but instead considers the human dimension to be necessary for sustainable water resources (from food to the built environment).

Sudden shocks to the system can drive such transformative changes within the economic, social, political, and environmental arenas, as can more extensive disruptions. For example, the sudden events of September 11, 2001 sparked the water sector's attention on water security, while the more long-term impacts of climate change are perpetuating the need for a unified policy on water management. At present, another unexpected and sudden crisis, COVID-19, has exposed a diverse range of additional pre-existing community problems across the U.S. including environmental justice.

April 15 – Day 1

The major purpose of the first day of the conference is to focus on water research, education and management, in terms of the human dimension, which can no longer be ignored. Water management has to be conducted through a sustainable lens with nature-based solutions that are both inclusive and holistic. More than ever, we need cross-sectoral collaborations to promote the sustainability and health of our water resources and water infrastructure. As such, expert panels will be convened to discuss emerging water topics: socio-hydrology, environmental justice, and innovations in water resources research, management and policy.

April 16 – Day 2

The Day 2 topic relates to the use of green water-infrastructure in circular cities to complement the circular economy. Advances in small-scale and decentralized water and renewable energy technologies provide significant opportunities for integrated and resilient urban water management to cope with cybersecurity, climate change mitigation/adaptation and community level environmental justice issues. We’ll present and share ideas and experiences that advance innovative solutions, particularly in the arena of decentralized and green urban water-infrastructure. The idea behind implementing such infrastructure envisions a holistic water and energy management system that supports water, energy, and food security within the built urban environment. The agenda will include plenary sessions, concurrent research/technical paper sessions, and poster presentations.



Student Presentation Preparation Guide and Recording Instructions

Click here for the presentation preparation guide.  

Click here for the presentation recording instructions via zoom.

Click here for the wonder video with networking instructions.


One Water Cities: Ideas and lessons learned from coast to coast.

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