Recognizing the vital role of water to the world and state, West Virginia University has created the Institute of Water Security and Science. The Institute will establish a strong and collaborative network of cross-disciplinary expertise in water research with the goal of shaping the future of water resources and stewardship.
The IWSS will hold its first meeting today (April 22) from noon to 2 p.m. at the Erickson Alumni Center with the goal of introducing the Institute to the campus community and building collaboration among the many water researchers who call WVU home.
Led by renowned water researcher Jason Hubbart, the IWSS will coordinate and promote campus-wide research in all pivotal areas of water, including stewardship, management, resources, innovations, policy, human health, land-use practices and sustainability.
According to Hubbart, the need for innovation and new techniques in water resources and stewardship is paramount, and the IWSS will give WVU the influence to shape these methods and build awareness of them with a national audience of stakeholders.
“Human pressures on water resources have reached record levels,” Hubbart said. “There is ample evidence that points to negative effects on human health and well-being as a result of these pressures. There is a need for new approaches and commitment to investing in broad water resources, and theIWSS will give us the necessary support to build a formidable collaborative for global expertise and innovation in water resources.”
The IWSS – housed in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and also supported by the WVU Research Office – will enable faculty to conduct research and pursue larger and multidisciplinary problems, solutions and funding opportunities.
“The Davis College is thrilled to have Dr. Hubbart on board and to convene the IWSS on behalf of the broad WVU community,” Davis College Dean Dan Robison said. “This effort will truly cross disciplines, as water is a fundamental integrating factor in all things – and relevant to all colleges. This will be a campus wide-initiative generating scholarship, service and opportunities for WVU students in so many ways.”
The IWSS was a natural fit for West Virginia’s land-grant institution, as water is an abundant and important resource for the state. According to WVU Vice President for Research Fred King, the IWSS will give WVU ample opportunity to encourage residents to foster and protect that resource through education and outreach efforts.
“One of West Virginia’s most important – but perhaps least appreciated – natural resources is water,” said King. “Through the IWSS, West Virginia University leads the state in understanding and protecting this valuable resource through an integrated program of education, outreach, and research. The goal is to ensure we are responsible stewards of this precious resource so that it benefits our citizens for generations to come.”
Hubbart, who previously served as an associate professor of forest hydrology at the University of Missouri, was tapped for the position in 2015. He brings an extensive background in hydrology, water quality, watershed management and land use research to his role at WVU. He is also a professor of hydrology through the Davis College.
Hubbart is a graduate of California State University with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in ecology. He went on to earn his doctorate in natural resources with an emphasis in physical hydrology from the University of Idaho.