New multi-agency water partnership to address regional challenges

University of Nevada, Reno leads effort to provide solutions to sustainable clean water

Krishna Pagilla, director of the Nevada Water Innovation Campus and professor of environmental engineering, addresses the audience of officials from the partner agencies as they launch the new collaboration that will focus on sustainable water management for economic growth and enriching the natural water environment for the Truckee Meadows region.

Krishna Pagilla at NWIC launch

"Perhaps nowhere in the world is water more important than in Nevada," University of Nevada, Reno Executive Vice-President and Provost Kevin Carman told the 150 people gathered to launch and celebrate a new collaboration to develop and implement innovative and integrated water solutions. "Especially with our emerging economies, stewardship of water and research on best practices and uses of water is important."

The new collaboration, the Nevada Water Innovation Campus, has the six major regional agencies and cities focused on addressing engineered water infrastructure needs, challenges and opportunities in the region. The shared vision and effort encourages the practice of sustainable water management for economic growth and enriching the natural water environment.

At the launch in August, University of Nevada, Reno and local water officials announced the new collaboration that will focus on sustainable water management for economic growth and enriching the natural water environment for the Truckee Meadows region.

The partnership includes the University of Nevada, Reno, Washoe County, City of Reno, City of Sparks, Western Regional Water Commission, Truckee Meadows Water Authority and Nevada Department of Transportation.

Common Purpose
"We all have a common purpose, with vast experience and expertise," Krishna Pagilla, environmental engineering professor and director of the Nevada Water Innovation Campus, said. "From water supply to water reclamation and reuse and to flooding issues, we can develop water resiliency for economic health and human health with innovative methods through collaborative projects. This Campus ties us all together for greater efficiencies and to solve real world problems."

The University will help develop new approaches and the agencies will implement them. Water projects will include topics such as storm water management, groundwater recharge for future use, reduction of emergent contaminants in the water supply, pollution prevention, industrial water and waste issues, water treatment, water reclamation and reuse and water quality protection. The collaboration will help to educate future workforce and community on water issues and sustainable water use and reuse.
"We've spent more than a year working with directors and staff to build this collaboration," Rick Warner, chairman of the Campus Board of Advisors and senior engineer at Washoe County, said. "This will help with the economic vitality of the region, providing innovative solutions and academic involvement."

The Nevada Water Innovation Campus
is intellectually and administratively housed at the University of Nevada, Reno and physically located at the regional water utilities and partner agencies. University research labs serve as the basic and fundamental research component of the water innovation campus.

"As regional leaders, I am pleased we are taking a collaborative approach to find imaginative and bold solutions to our water quantity and quality challenges," Bob Lucey, Chair of the Washoe County Commissioners, said. "As in line with the mission of Washoe County to provide and sustain a safe, secure and healthy community, we collectively recognize the value of water to the community's public health, arts and recreation, natural treasures and wildlife, and our economy, which is why I am proud Washoe County is a part of the Nevada Water Innovation Campus."

Mridul Gautum, vice president for research and innovation at the University, said "this collaboration is addressing one of the important issues of our time, with direct impact on public health, economic prosperity and job growth. This isn't just a project, this an initiative that can make a difference, our research resources will help inform public policy decisions and support solutions. It's good that we're all pulling the wagon in the same direction."

    "The City of Reno has long viewed sustainability and climate action as a top priority, and water management is an essential part of that commitment," At-Large Reno City Councilmember David Bobzien, said. "Our commitment to sustainability was cemented on a global level when Mayor Schieve and the Reno City Council signed the Compact of Mayors in 2015. We also joined the One Truckee River Management Plan in 2016. This latest collaboration of local agencies led by the University of Nevada, Reno is another important step in the right direction."

    "As operators of the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility, the City of Sparks is proud to collaborate with industry leaders and to help educate our community on sustainable water use and reuse," Mayor Geno Martini said.

    "At TMWA, our customers expect high-quality water and this will strengthen and expand that," Naomi Duerr, speaking on behalf of the Truckee Meadows Water Authority said. "We have a long history with the University on a number of projects over the years to improve our operations and processes at the water treatment plants." 

    "I believe the Nevada Water Innovation Campus will help us all be more effective in attaining our goals," David Gaskin, deputy director of the Nevada Department of Transportation, said. "By sharing our knowledge, experience and resources, we can better advance the noble cause of protecting and enhancing our state's precious water resources."

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