In urban areas, where the majority of the world’s people live, the fear of water systems being overwhelmed by population growth, sea level rise or extreme weather events is real.

The Resilient Urban Water Systems Working Group of the UVA Environmental Resilience Institute aims to ensure water systems can withstand the evolving demands and threats. Garrick Louis, associate professor in the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, is co-leading the working group with Charles Vörösmarty, his faculty counterpart from City College of New York. The working group was launched recently as part of the institute’s Water Futures Initiative.

Initially, the group will assess and map “gray” and “green” infrastructure — built water and sanitation systems and natural hydrologic systems such as watersheds and wetlands — in select East Coast cities. They will study the dynamics between the two to inform engineering designs that integrate green infrastructure in the upgrade and construction of aging and new resilient urban water systems, respectively.

Professor Garrick Louis (front center) and his students collaborate with partners such as Babylon Micro-Farms, a local UVA alumni-owned company providing intelligent hydroponic crop cultivation systems asa bridge to the development of gray-green design approaches to urban water systems.

Professor Garrick Louis (front center) and his students collaborate with partners such as Babylon Micro-Farms, a local UVA alumni-owned company providing intelligent hydroponic crop cultivation systems as a bridge to the development of gray-green design approaches to urban water systems.