America's water is at a crossroads. For years, the world looked to the United States as a leader in scientific and economic water management, and sought to emulate the nation's approach to water development. Today, however, the United States has no policy or strategic planning process for the management of this crucial resource at the national level. The America's Water initiative aims to address the great water infrastructure challenge by re-examining the issues of public-private investment in water systems and outlining the potential for radical technical design and infrastructure management innovations, with the ultimate goal of restoring America's global leadership in infrastructure design and water management in the farms, cities and watercourses of the future.

America’s Water Initiative

Media and Outreach

America’s Water Blog

News and Opinion from the Columbia Water Center about America’s water challenges and opportunities.

IMG_8561America’s Water Events and Webinar Series

Learn from experts about the connection between water and energy, water policy in the west, drought trends and many other topics.

aw-video-intro-150Video: America’s Water Initiative

The Columbia Water Center’s America’s Water Initiative aims to bring awareness and understanding to the public and to ensure water security of our nation and beyond.


“One of our avenues of interest at the Columbia Water Center was aimed at envisioning the future of water in the United States and ensuring that water infrastructure was adequate to meet the needs of current and future demands for water to support economic activities. Our work found that the state of dams in the United States ranges broadly in terms of safety, maintenance, operation efficiency, and plans for future use. Our findings were presented at a congressional subcommittee hearing on the future of federal water infrastructure management and development. There is still plenty of research that is needed regarding dams and surface water storage and this was just an initial step in providing information that will help plan for the future of dams in the United States.” – Michelle Ho, Former Columbia Water Center Researcher 



It’s time to stop thinking of water challenges as merely local issues, and to start addressing water as a national issue. Are we up for the challenge?

Granite_Falls_26428Approaches to Risk Management

Scientists understand the connection between global climate patterns and local flood risks better than ever, but there is still more to learn. By making the right connections, can we help policymakers and water managers prepare for and adapt to disasters?

The Everglades

Using climate scenario monitoring to understand and protect one of America’s most important ecosystems.

Northeast Urban Climate Risk

Learning from the past to prepare for a uncertain water future. New York City has some of the best drinking water in the world, fed by abundant and consistent precipitation in its upstate watershed. But water in the region wasn’t always so abundant.

The Delaware River Basin Project

Using cutting edge models to help manage rivers more flexibly for all users.

Transboundary Rivers in the Western United States

A research project that mapped the governance rules in 14 interstate compacts to help compact commissions can address conflicts and engage in institutional adaptation over time.

Utility-based Water Risk Indices

How do droughts, storms and other water and climate risks impact the future of American water utilities?



          Ho, M, Lall, U., Sun, Xun and Cook, E. R. April 2017