New joint laboratory to address global water pollution, management issues

In an effort to address global water pollution and supply issues, the Desert Research Institute and Nevada Center of Excellence have partnered with China's Hohai University, the country's foremost water research university.

LAS VEGAS, NV, Sept. 24, 2014 -- In an effort to address global water pollution and supply issues, the Desert Research Institute (DRI) and the Nevada Center of Excellence have partnered with China's Hohai University, the country's foremost water research university. The new collaboration will develop a joint-international laboratory that will facilitate faculty and student exchanges; water resources management and training; and water pollution monitoring and mitigation.

The new laboratory will focus on innovative scientific research to rehabilitate and sustain some of China's most polluted watersheds. Hohai University, established in 1915, has more than 30,000 degree-seeking students and 3,000 staff members. With campuses in Nanjing, Jiangning and Changzhou, it serves as one of China's leading academic research institutions.

In August, DRI President Dr. Steve Wells and Hohai University President Xu Hui signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) outlining the objectives of the expanded partnership in the city of Nanjing, China. The DRI delegation to China, headed by Wells, included DRI research professor and the new lab's co-director Kumud Acharya, Ph.D. and Kenneth Ladd, vice chairman of the Nevada Center of Excellence.

The partnership's main objectives include identifying shared top-level hydrology and water resource research foci of scientific and strategic importance; the application of joint research funding within China and the U.S.; and the development of a world-class research team from Hohai University and the Desert Research Institute.

In support of developing a talent exchange between China and the U.S., the partnership includes the annual exchange of three to six academic personnel and the implementation of shared laboratories to facilitate research. It also includes the joint organization of workshops, symposia, international conferences, and publications.

"Our initial work will expand the algae bloom research we have done on Lake Taihu, China's largest freshwater lake, and the Yangtze River Delta," said Acharya, "This heavily-polluted region of Eastern China serves as the ideal test-bed for implementation of innovative technologies and water management practices that can then be applied across the globe.”

For more than two decades, Lake Taihu has been stricken with toxic blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) blooms that have jeopardized the drinking water supply of more than 20 million people. The once stable watershed is now home to over 40 million people and serves as the literal "canary in the coal mine" related to China's dramatic economic and population growth, Acharya explained.

Through the engagement of a shared laboratory at DRI and Hohai, the research scientists will broaden the impact of their work throughout Southeast Asia and the U.S., using the joint laboratory to research water management practices for watersheds affected by dramatic population growth and urban development.

“We believe that this collaboration will allow us to build a team of world-class researchers from both institutes to solve urgent problems on water pollution and management -- not only in China but all over the world,” said Hohai University President Xu Hui.

See also:

"New study helps determine causes of toxic algal blooms in waterbodies"

"New research to encourage better water resource management in developing nations"


About the Desert Research Institute

DRI, the nonprofit research campus of the Nevada System of Higher Education, strives to be the world leader in environmental sciences through the application of knowledge and technologies to improve people’s lives throughout Nevada and the world. For more information, visit www.dri.edu.

About the Nevada Center of Excellence

With world-renowned experts at the helm, Nevada's Water Center of Excellence is a resource for global and municipal water management and sustainability in the Southwestern United States and across the globe. Nevada's Water COE is a public-private sector joint venture that was built on computing technology, a shared infrastructure and a common set of resources. The COE leverages the expertise of premier hydrologic science and technology institutions to deliver services in water resource management and big data analytics. For more information, visit www.nevadacoe.org.

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