Interdisciplinary Water Science & Education

Our Mission

Academic departments in six colleges contribute to water research, education, and extension at Utah State. Each department grants its own degrees and has its own acceptance and graduation requirements. The Utah State Water Initiative works to facilitate collaborative research and to foster a collegial interdisciplinary community of water scholars.

Utah State University supports a broad community of Students and Faculty engaged in Water Education, Research and Outreach. The USU Water Initiative provides an overarching umbrella for the activities of this community aimed at fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and collegial sharing of ideas related to water across the departments and colleges of Utah State University. USU Water Initiative seminars, as well as water related seminars in a number of colleges and departments occur on a regular basis. The Spring Runoff Conference, so named because it is held at the end of winter and in anticipation of spring’s runoff season – a time of anticipation and excitement in hydrology, provides another opportunity for the sharing of ideas and scholarly debate.

The USU Water Initiative emerged from a task force appointed by the University President in Fall 2002 charged with recommending ways to strengthen water programs at USU that take advantage of the diversity and breadth of water activities at USU. The task force included representatives from the six colleges involved in water-related activity (Agriculture, Business, Engineering, HASS, Natural Resources, and Science) and from many academic departments.

The Spring Runoff Conference was started as an activity of the USU Water Initiative to foster exchange of ideas and promote interdisciplinary collaboration on all aspects of water research at USU.

Spring Runoff Conference

The USU Spring Runoff Conference is held nearly annually to provide a forum for interdisciplinary sharing and exchange of ideas on water-related issues in Utah and the Intermountain Region extending to all aspects of water science, ecology, policy, engineering, and management.  The next Spring Runoff Conference will be Tuesday March 29, 2022 at the USU Eccles Conference Center. Poster and abstract submissions will be accepted starting January 15, 2022 and information on how to submit will come in January. We look forward to your participation!

This year’s theme is Forecasting and Adapting to Drought. Drought is likely the most salient water issue in Utah and the Western US these days. This year’s Spring Runoff Conference combines the science of forecasting drought and its implications with federal, state, and local perspectives on how we anticipate and respond to drought. How long and how bad might this current drought be? What are the impacts on water use, water quality, and natural resources? How are natural resource policies and management strategies adapting to drought? What innovations in hydroclimatic information are likely to help us navigate a dry future? A great lineup of speakers from Utah and the region is taking shape.

HydroShare web-based collaborative environment for sharing hydrologic data and models

HydroShare is a collaborative website being developed for better access to data and models in the hydrologic sciences by a team led by USU Professor David Tarboton with a grant from the National Science Foundation.

iUTAH Preserving Utah's Water Resources innovative Urban Transitions and Aridregion Hydro-sustainability

The National Science Foundation EPSCoR program (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) awarded Utah a five-year, $20 million grant to support a statewide effort to assist in building the human and research infrastructure needed to sustainably manage Utah’s waters. The iUTAH project is the result of that grant.