Water Research Foundation to restructure research program

Jan. 27, 2011
DENVER, CO, Jan. 27, 2011 -- At its January meeting, the Water Research Foundation's Board of Trustees took action to advance its research mandate...

• Organization reduces number of programs from six to three, announces 2011 Research Budget

DENVER, CO, Jan. 27, 2011 -- At its January meeting, the Water Research Foundation's Board of Trustees took action to advance its research mandate. Most significantly, the Board approved a restructuring of the Foundation's research program. The restructuring is intended to streamline the research planning and funding process and to deliver research solutions to subscribers in a more timely manner.

As part of this restructuring, which will not impact overall funding committed to research, the Board voted to reduce the number of discrete research programs from six to three, as follows:

The Focus Area Program will identify a limited number of broadly relevant subscriber issues and solve them with a targeted, multi-year research response. Sixty percent of the annual research budget will be allocated to this program which incorporates and replaces the Solicited and Strategic Initiative Programs. Additional information about the Foundation's Focus Area Program will be made available to subscribers and other stakeholders throughout 2011 as this new program is developed.

The Emerging Opportunities Program enables the Foundation to respond quickly to emergent subscriber challenges and research ideas identified throughout the year. Twenty percent of the annual research budget will be dedicated to this program that replaces the Unsolicited, Rapid Response and Partnership programs. $1.36 million was set aside to support this new program.

The Tailored Collaboration Program enables the Foundation to partner with utility subscribers on research that may be more limited or regional in impact. This program is unchanged and funding for it will increase from fifteen to twenty percent of the annual research budget. $1.36 million was also allocated to support this program.

In announcing the new research program structure, Roy Wolfe, Board Chairman, said: "We are confident this new program structure will help us achieve three specific goals, as established by the Research Strategy Committee: Focus on solving the most pressing subscriber problems more completely, minimize the timeframe from identification of need to approval of project, and reduce the level of effort for volunteers and staff without compromising quality of results."

The Board of Trustees also approved its 2011 research budget. In total, 31 projects were approved and will receive a total of $8.5 million in Foundation funding. This research budget will be leveraged with partnerships and in-kind support to an anticipated total research value of $18 million. Some 25 percent of this total will fund research under the Foundation's three strategic initiatives: climate change; distribution system water quality; and endocrine-disrupting compounds/pharmaceuticals and personal care products in drinking water.

Twenty-one of the solicited projects will be competitively procured via RFPs, which are anticipated to be issued by March 15, 2011 unless otherwise noted. Proposal due dates will be specified in the particular RFP. The projects are listed below:

Research Advisory Council RFPs

  • Addressing Revenue Gaps Through Improved Financial Practices and Effective Utility (#4366 )
  • Answers to Challenging Infrastructure Management Questions (#4367)
  • Assessing Performance of Biofilm Sampling Approaches (# 4368)
  • Best Practices for Water Utility Legal Protection and Claims Management from Infrastructure Failure Events (# 4369)
  • Controlling the Formation of Nitrosamines During Water Treatment (#4370)
  • Effective Organization and Component Analysis of Water Utility Leakage Data (# 4372)
  • Guidance for Treatment of Variable Manganese Loading (#4373)
  • Main Breaks: Current Knowledge and Research Roadmap (#4374)
  • Methodology For Determining Baseline Commercial, Institutional And Industrial End Uses Of Water (#4375)
  • Protocol for Testing Medium Pressure UV Inactivation of Viruses (#4376)
  • Quality Management of Infrastructure Assets from Manufacture to Installation (#4377)
  • Water Footprints and the Value of Water: New Concepts for Sustainable Water Utilities and Communities (#4378)
  • Workshop: Research Needs about Opportunistic Pathogens in Premise Plumbing (#4379)

Climate Change Strategic Initiative RFPs

  • Addressing Climate Change by Applying Adaptive Management Techniques to Infrastructure Management (# 4380)
  • Effective Communication of Climate Change Effects to Stakeholders (#4381)
  • Impact of Climate Change on the Ecology of Algal Blooms (#4382)

Distribution System Water Quality Strategic Initiative RFPs

  • Addressing The Potential Water Quality and Utility Management Impacts Due To Green Building Design (#4383)
  • Case Studies to Identify Occurrence and Causative Factors of Backflow as Measured by Meters (#4384)
  • Identifying Gaps in Understanding the Benefits/Costs of Boil Water Advisories as a Public Health Protection Measure (#4385)

Endocrine Disrupting Compounds / Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products Strategic Initiative RFPs

  • Decision Support Tool to Reduce Exposure of EDCs and PPCPs to Drinking Water Consumers (#4386)
  • Development of a Water Utility Handbook on EDCs/PPCPs for Public Education and Consumption (#4387)

Interested parties will be able to view RFPs at http://www.waterrf.org/Research/RFPs/Pages/default.aspx or request RFPs from the Water Research Foundation RFP Desk, 6666 W. Quincy Avenue, Denver, CO 80235 (303-347-6118). Be sure to indicate the RFP number. RFPs can also be requested and sent through e-mail ([email protected]).

Guidelines for 2011 solicited proposals will be available by the end of February at http://www.waterrf.org/Research/Administration/ProposalGuidelines/Pages/Default.aspx

The following ten additional projects also were funded by the Board of Trustees in January:

• Cast Iron Graphitic Corrosion Detection Tool (# 4389)
• Collaborating on CDC's Epidemiological Study-Effective Microbial Control Strategies in Response to Main Breaks (#4390)
• Condition Assessment of Large-Diameter Iron Pipe (#4391)
• Development of a Microbial Standard for Assessment of Performance of Total Coliform Analytical Methods (# 4371)
• Effects of Weather on Leakage and Bursts (Pipe Breaks) (#4392)
• Expert Workshop and Research Update on EDCs/PPCPs in Drinking Water (#4388)
• Quantifying the Benefits of WQ Catchment (Watershed) Management Initiatives (#4393)
• Scoping Study for a Sustainability Rating Tool (#4394)
• Selecting Methods for Projecting Life Cycle Asset Management Investment Needs (#4395)
• Transformation of EDCs/PPCPs and Resulting Toxicity Following Drinking Water Disinfection (#4396)

About the Water Research Foundation
Founded in 1966, the Water Research Foundation is an international, 501(c)3 non-profit organization that sponsors research to enable water utilities, public health agencies and other professionals to provide safe and affordable drinking water to the public. With more than 950 subscriber members who provide water to 80 percent of the U.S. population, the Water Research Foundation has funded and managed more than 1,000 project. For more information, go to www.waterRF.org.