View of a lake from the woods

The Alabama Water Institute is being established as a world-class, interdisciplinary research institute that engages in basic and applied research in the area of fresh water. It will leverage existing strengths at The University of Alabama, address future challenges and provide broadbased strategic planning so the state, region and nation meet water needs of the future. The Alabama Water Institute will collaborate across the entire University as well as with peer institutions and regional centers.


The National Academy of Engineering identified access to clean water as one of the major challenges facing people of the world this century. The fundamental problem is not that the world does not have enough fresh water, but that clean, well-managed water is not located, nor can it be easily moved, to those who need it. Ironically, having too much water may be even worse than having too little as estimates of the global costs of flooding run into the trillions of dollars. Outside of drinking and sanitation, the majority of fresh water is required for agriculture and industry as major business decisions are frequently based on access to sufficient water.

Work across campus

Initially, the Institute will embrace the activities of four existing research centers at UA:

  • Center for Freshwater Studies
  • Center for Advanced Public Safety
  • Environmental Institute
  • Water Policy and Law Institute

Other areas on campus with involvement should include:

  • Alabama Center for Insurance Information and Research
  • Center for Business and Economic Research
  • Center for Sedimentary Basin Studies

The University anticipates establishing two new research centers in hydrology and remote sensing that will fall under the umbrella of the Alabama Water Institute.

The Alabama Water Institute will work closely with the National Water Center, a NOAA facility located on the University campus. The National Water Center is a part of NOAA Office of Water Prediction that includes elements in Maryland, Minnesota and Alabama.