UNR leads collaborative effort to address water issues

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Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 11:36 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - With declining snowpack, extreme weather and rapid population growth, the future of the water supply in the Silver State is looking gloomy.

In an effort to act now, the National Science Foundation (NSF) is funding a project at the University of Nevada, Reno that will bring together state experts to address water issues.

“I think that we’re really on the verge of seemingly unretractable problems around water, where we actually don’t have a real solution,” said Anne Nolin professor of geography and director of the Graduate Program of Hydrological Sciences at the university.

The project is called Nevada Water and the goal is to build a network of water suppliers, users, policymakers, and academics.

“It’s not focused on developing policies, it’s focused on identifying challenges and strategies for how we can best, together, address those challenges,” said Nolin.

Nolin, who is leading the effort says, the state’s supply of this resource comes from groundwater and mountains, both of which are being impacted by climate change and urban growth.

Network partners will include native tribes, utility companies, state and federal agencies, the Nevada Farm Bureau, and others.

“The only way this network is going to fully succeed is if the different members, different groups involved can come together,” said Nolin. “In an environment where we trust each other. We can trust the information that we’re providing, we can trust each other’s motives.”

The project, recently received a one-year planning grant for $149,923 from NSF.

This time will be used to develop the network structure and goals, identify sustainability issues, and come up with strategies to alleviate such.

The next step is to apply for a five-year, $15 million Track 1 grant through the NSF Sustainable Regional Systems Research Network program.

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