With the retirement of Dr. Tom Sims, Deputy Dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, I am pleased to be appointed the third Director of the Delaware Water Resources Center (DWRC). Dr. Sims skillfully served as the DWRC director for a decade and a half and made a real and substantial difference in the careers and lives of hundreds if not thousands of students, faculty, and staff who conducted research in water science and policy here at the University of Delaware. The DWRC is one of the 54 National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) supported by the U.S. Geological Survey at land grant universities in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and three island territories. The DWRC celebrates our 50th anniversary of the center’s designation at the University of Delaware in 1965, one year after Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA) on July 17, 1964. The DWRC belongs to the mid-Atlantic NIWR region that includes our colleagues at Cornell, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia.
By its favorable geography and hydrology, the University of Delaware is fortuitously situated for water resources research. The Newark campus along the fall line between the Appalachian Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain, and the coastal Lewes campus along the Atlantic Ocean sit amidst two great estuary systems – the Delaware and Chesapeake. These mid-Atlantic basins contribute drinking water to a full one-tenth of the nation’s population and the first (New York City), fourth (Baltimore/DC), and seventh (Philadelphia) largest metropolitan economies in the United States. The White Clay Creek National Wild and Scenic River flows through the University of Delaware here in Newark as an ideal experimental watershed for on-campus water resources research by students and faculty/staff. One of our objectives is to increase the amount of federal, state, local, and foundation support for internships and research assistantships for students and faculty to conduct water resources research here in Delaware, the Delaware Valley, and throughout America.
Gerald J. Kauffman, Ph.D.
Director, Delaware Water Resources Center
The DWRC can also be contacted via Program Coordinator Maria Pautler
Phone: 302.831.0847 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Director’s Corner
During the century-ending drought of 1999, the State Geologist once informed the Governor's Drought Advisory Committee that "a drought always ends when it rains." While no one can predict the future and our warming atmosphere makes it harder to forecast the weather, this adage is always true. This summer we sweated through the hottest August on record in Delaware in 122 years dating to 1895 and our drinking water streams such as the Brandywine have declined to the lowest levels since the record drought of 2002. The Delaware Water Supply Coordinating Council is watching this closely and a drought watch may be in the offing unless we receive tropical moisture in the name of Matthew, Nicole, or Otto.
Delaware relies on concordant relationships with our Federal water agencies and neighboring states as a full two thirds of the First State's drinking water flows from four streams that roll down from the Piedmont foothills in Pennsylvania and Maryland across William Penn's 1682 arc into the Coastal Plain of Delaware. Since the UD campus lies by the banks of one of these streams, the White Clay Creek National Wild and Scenic River, our Delaware Water Resources Center (DWRC) students have an ideal outdoor living laboratory at their doorsteps to carry out their research on droughts and floods. On a drought-like August day, our senior Senator Tom Carper, a ranking member of the Senate Public Works and Environment Committee, stopped by the DWRC offices to discuss these critical water resource issues with our water science and policy and environmental studies students. As we enter the 2017 Water Year on October 1st, we reflect on our strategic thinking about how to provide more cohesive research opportunities for budding water scientists and students here in Delaware.
Therefore, for the first time in 40 years, we are pleased to announce the merger of the Delaware Water Resources Center (est. 1965) with the Water Resources Agency (est. 1977). You can read more about the fluidity of this synchronization at our new website. Do you remember Adam Smith who discussed the invisible hand of economics? Well back in 1776 he also wrote about the diamond-water paradox. Water (and the people who study it) are precious resources, that's always been true too!
Twitter, CSPAN, the New York Times…water is increasingly in the news these days. From the California drought to blizzards and coastal flooding in Delaware, not to mention the Flint River crisis, water issues are impossible to avoid. Through all the noise of the election, the economy, and even March Madness, water is “bubbling up to the top” for the public as well as top officials from governors to the President. I saw this first-hand when invited to represent the University of Delaware and Delaware at the White House Water Summit on March 22, 2016, which coincided with World Water Day.
These national water issues were also the focus of the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) meeting this past February in Washington, DC, which Martha Narvaez and I attended with our colleagues and the directors of water resources institutes at 48 other land grant universities stretching from Maine to Alaska to Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. We spent much of our time discussing these national water issues with scientists from NOAA, USDA, Department of the Interior, EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
It is clear that it is indeed in the national interest to address these water crises through the research and education programs supported through the USGS and the National Water Resources Research Program created by LBJ and Congress in 1964. At the DWRC, I am glad to report that we are doing our best to train the next generation to address these profound water resources issues that have great impact on the economy and ecology of the United States. At our February 29, 2016 special leap-day meeting of the DWRC Advisory Panel, we heard presentations on the work of our graduate research assistants and undergraduate interns supported by DWRC, who put on display a very impressive body of research.
Over the last year we have sponsored the research of 20 students who joined with faculty and scientist advisors across four colleges of the University to work on addressing the water resources problems of tomorrow. I am happy to report that the future of water resources is in good hands with this cohort of budding water scientists, and that the DWRC is poised to address the water challenges in Delaware, the Delmarva, and indeed nationally and globally. Although Delaware may be small, we are always the First State for water resources.
Twenty fifteen has indeed been a watershed year for water resources in the Diamond State.The Delaware Water Resources Center is celebrating the Golden Anniversary of our founding in 1965, just a year after Lyndon Baines Johnson worked with Congress and signed the Water Resources Research Act that formed the 54 National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) at land grant universities in the 50 states, D.C. and the three island territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The DWRC Advisory Panel has recommended water resources research funding from the USGS that supports 18 undergraduate internships and 3 graduate assistantships to study with faculty and scientists from five colleges at the University of Delaware. In September, the University of Delaware was chosen to host the 3rd Annual Delaware River Forum sponsored by the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed that highlighted over $35 million in investments by the William Penn Foundation to 40 nonprofits and universities to protect and restore the watershed that provides drinking water to 5% of the population of the United States. Accepting the gavel from our NIWR colleague and outgoing President Dr. John Tracy (Director of the University of Idaho Water Resources Research Center), the University of Delaware Water Resources Center’s Martha Narvaez was inducted on November 18, 2015 as the 50th President of the American Water Resources Association at the AWRA annual conference in Denver, Colorado. Completing the flow of good news, past president and geography doctoral candidate Asia Dowtin and current president and Water Science and Policy graduate student Sandra Petrakis accepted the award in Denver on November 15, 2015 as the University of Delaware was recognized as 2015 outstanding AWRA student chapter at the annual AWRA conference in Denver, Colorado. National champs! I wonder what the next ten years will bring for us here at the DWRC. Diamonds anyone?
In January 2015, Dr. Jerry Kauffman was named the third Director of the Delaware Water Resources Center. Dr. Kauffman succeeds Dr. Tom Sims, Deputy Dean of the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources who skillfully served as the second Director of the DWRC for a decade and a half and made a real and substantial difference in the careers and lives of many students, faculty, and staff who conducted research in water science and policy here at the University of Delaware.