Global Water Initiative

Global Water Initiative - Research


Interdisciplinary Research: Questions, Answers and Solutions Examining the Global Water Crisis

The University of Virginia Global Water Initiative (GWI), hosted at the Darden School of Business, brings together more than 25 UVA scholars from the fields of environmental science, engineering, business, economics, history, architecture, nursing and law. The initiative’s interdisciplinary research is based on a premise that the world’s water challenges need a more multifaceted approach.

The GWI’s concentration on environmental and societal water questions in light of growing tensions among major water users in a global world is unique, differentiated from other academic water centers through its holistic, global and interdisciplinary approach. The initiative focuses on three research clusters that are stepping-stones toward comprehensive water management:

  • Water Scarcity, Agriculture and Climate Change studies food security in a global world in which agriculture uses over 70 percent of fresh water. The GWI researches strategies to feed a growing population in a world whose climate is changing.
  • Water Productivity, Water Markets and the Environment examines how increased competition for scarce resources creates a need for increased water productivity. The initiative investigates how price and non-price mechanisms, as well as water markets, affect productivity while meeting environmental needs.
  • Water Quality, Infrastructure and Innovation explores often inadequate, outdated or non-existent water infrastructure. The GWI analyzes challenges and solutions that ensure water’s quality and safe drinking water for all as pre-conditions for healthy and productive societies.

The GWI will boost the research of its team of interdisciplinary UVA professors by hiring postdoctoral academics, graduate and undergraduate students as well as holding research workshops, conferences and smaller colloquia through which it will engage the research community and support research grant writing.

Water Research Seminars

We hold a regular water research seminar in which we share our own research and invite external speakers.

Related Publications

You can see a list of recent publications related to the initiative's efforts via our publications section below.


Faculty across the University of Virginia conduct research on a broad array of facets contributing to the global water crisis, shining a light on possible solutions. Through the Global Water Initiative, this multisector research comes together, allowing researchers and thought leaders from multiple disciplines to leverage each other’s expertise and collaborate on water challenges facing local communities and the world. This page includes an index of faculty research supported by the GWI.

  • 2017 Publications

    2017 Publications

    Authors affiliated with the Global Water Initiative in bold.

    Ajami, H., A. Sharma, LE Band, JP Evans, NK Tuteja, GE Amirthanathan, 2017.  On the non-stationarity of hydrological response in anthropogenically unaffected catchments:  An Australian perspective.  Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 21, p.281-294. 

    Bulled, N.L., Poppe, K.C., Ramatsitsi, K., Mushaphi, L., Winegar, G., Gumbo, J., Dillingham, R., and Smith, J.A., 2017, Assessing the environmental context of hand washing among school children in Limpopo, South Africa: Water International, v. 42, no. 5, p. 568-564; DOI: 10.1080/02508060.2017.1335140

    Butitta, V.L., S.R. Carpenter, L.C. Loken, M.L. Pace, and E.H. Stanley.  2017.  Spatial early warning signals in a lake manipulation.  Ecosphere 8: e01941

    Berg, P, M.L. Delgard, R.N. Glud, M. Huettel, C.E. Reimers, and M.L. Pace.  2017.  Non-invasive flux measurements at the benthic interface: The aquatic covariance technique. L&O e-Lectures 7: 1-50.

    Davis, K.F., A. Seveso, M.C. Rulli, and P. D’Odorico, 2017. “Water savings of crop redistribution in the United States”, Water, 9, 83; doi:10.3390/w9020083.

    Davis, K.F., M.C. Rulli, F. Garrassino, A. Seveso, and P. D’Odorico, 2016. “Water limits to closing yield gaps”, Adv. Water Resour., 99, 67-75,

    Debaere, Peter and Amanda Kuerzendoerfer, “Decomposing U.S Water Withdrawal since 1950,, Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (JAERE). 4, no. 1 (March 2017): 155-196.

    Dell’Angelo, J., P. D’Odorico, and M.C. Rulli, 2018. “The Global Water Grab Syndrome”, Ecological Economics, 143, 276-285.

    Dell’Angelo, J., M.C. Rulli, and P. D’Odorico, 2017. “Threats to sustainable development posed by land and water grabbing.”, Current Opinions in Environment and Sustainability, 26, 120-128

    Dell’Angelo, J., M.C. Rulli, P. Marchand, and P. D’Odorico, 2017. “The tragedy of the grabbed commons”, World Development, 92, 1-12, 2017.

    D’Odorico P., M.C. Rulli, J. Dell’Angelo, K.F. Davis, 2017. “New frontiers of land and water commodification: socioenvironmental controversies of large‐scale land acquisitions”, Land Degradation & Development, DOI: 10.1002/ldr.2750.

    D’Odorico P., J.L. Natyzak, E. A. Castner, K. F. Davis, K. Emery, J.A. Gephart, A. Leach, M.L. Pace, and J N. Galloway, 2017. “Ancient water supports today’s energy needs”, Earth’s Future, 5(5), 515-519, doi:10.1002/2017EF000544.

    Duncan J. M., Band L. E., and Groffman P. M. (2017) Variable Nitrate Concentration-Discharge Relationships in a Forested Watershed, Hydrol. Process., doi: 10.1002/hyp.11136.

    Duncan, J. M., C. Welty, J. T. Kemper, P. M. Groffman, and L. E. Band (2017), Dynamics of nitrate concentration-discharge patterns in an urban watershed, Water Resour. Res., 53, 7349–7365, doi:10.1002/2017WR020500.

    Ehdaie B, Rento CT, Son V, Turner SS, Samie A, Dillingham RA, and Smith, J.A. (2017) Evaluation of a Silver-Embedded Ceramic Tablet as a Primary and Secondary Point-of-Use Water Purification Technology in Limpopo Province, S. Africa. PLOS ONE 12(1): e0169502. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169502

    Evans, M. F., Gilpatric, S. M., & Shimshack, J. P. (2017). Enforcement spillovers: Lessons from strategic interactions in regulation and product markets. University of Virginia working paper.

    G.M. Geise, Y. Ji, Ion specific effects in charged polymer membranes for water purification, Bulletin of the American Physical Society, 62 (2017).

    Gephart, J.A., L. Deutsch, M.L. Pace, M. Troell, and D.A. Seekell.  2017.  Shocks to fish production: identification, trends, and consequences. Global Environmental Change 42: 24-32. 

    Gratien, Chris. "The Ottoman Quagmire: Malaria, Swamps, and Settlement in the Late Ottoman Mediterranean." International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol. 49 No. 4 (November 2017), 583-604.

    Gratien, Chris. "Pilavdan Dönen İmparatorluk: Meclis-i Mebusan’da Sıtma ve Çeltik Tartışmaları (Debating Malaria and Rice Cultivation in the Ottoman Parliament)" translated by Burcu Kurt in Osmanlı'dan Cumhuriyet'e Salgın Hastalıklar, eds. Burcu Kurt and İsmail Yaşayanlar. Istanbul: Tarih Vakfı, 2017.

    Harwood, A., Johnson, S., Richter, B., Locke, A., Yu, X. and Tickner, D. 2017. Listen to the river: Lessons from a global review of environmental flow success stories, WWF-UK, Woking, UK

    A.C. Horne, J.A. Webb, M.J. Stewardson, M. Acreman, and B. Richter, eds. 2017. Water for the Environment: From Policy and Science to Implementation and Management. Elsevier, London.

    Kim, Y., L.E. Band, D.L. Ficklin, 2017.   Projected hydrological changes in the North Carolina Piedmont using bias-corrected North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) data.  Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies,

    Martin, K. L., Hwang, T., Vose, J. M., Coulston, J. W., Wear, D. N., Miles, B., and Band, L. E. (2017) Watershed impacts of climate and land use changes depend on magnitude and land use context. Ecohydrol., doi: 10.1002/eco.1870.

    Natyzak, J.L., E.A. Castner, P. D’Odorico, J.N. Galloway, 2017. “Virtual Water as a Metric for Institutional Sustainability”, Sustainability The Journal of Record, 10(4), 238-245.

    Pace, M.L., R.D. Batt, C.D. Buelo, S.R. Carpenter, J.J. Cole, J.T. Kurtzweil, and G.M. Wilkinson.  2017. Reversal of a cyanobacterial bloom in response to early warnings.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 114: 352-357.

    Pace, M.L. and J.A. Gephart.  2017.  Trade: a driver of present and future ecosystems.  Ecosystems 20: 44-53.

    Richter, B.D., J.D. Brown, R. DiBenedetto, A. Gorsky, E. Keenan, C. Madray, M. Morris, D. Rowell, and S. Ryu. 2017. Opportunities for saving and reallocating agricultural water to alleviate scarcityWater Policy, Available Online 5 April 2017, wp2017143; DOI: 10.2166/wp.2017.143 

    Saha, M. V., P. D’Odorico, and T. M. Scanlon, 2017. “Albedo changes after fire as an explanation of fire‐induced rainfall suppression”, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2017GL073623.

    Scaife, C. I., and L. E. Band (2017), Nonstationarity in threshold response of stormflow in southern Appalachian headwater catchments, Water Resour. Res., 53, 6579–6596, doi:10.1002/2017WR020376.

    Seekell, D.A., J. Carr, J. Dell’Angelo, P. D’Odorico, M. Fader, J. Gephart, R.P. Korzeniewicz, M. Kummu, N. Magliocca, M. Porkka, C. Prell, M. Puma, Z. Ratajczak, M.C. Rulli, S. Suweis, A Tavoni, 2017. “Resilience in the global food system”, Envionm. Res. Lett., 12,

    Siciliano G., M.C. Rulli, and P. D’Odorico, 2017. “European large-scale farmland investments and the water, energy, food nexus”, Advances in Water Resources.

    Tanentzap, A.J., B.W. Kielstra, G.M. Wilkinson, M. Berggren, N. Craig, P.A. del Giorgio, J. Grey, J.M. Gunn, S.E. Jones, J. Karlsson, C.T. Solomon, and M.L. Pace.  Terrestrial support of lake food webs: Synthesis reveals controls over cross-ecosystem resource use. Science Advances 3: e1601765.

    Y. Ji, G.M. Geise, The role of experimental factors in membrane permselectivity measurements, Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 56 (2017) 7559.

    Yu, K., P. D’Odorico, D. Carr, A. Personius, S.L. Collins, 2017. “The effect of nitrogen availability and water conditions on competition between a facultative CAM plant and an invasive grass”, Ecology & Evolution, 1–11.

    Yulong, Z., C. Song, L.E. Band, G. Sun, J. Li, 2017.  Reanalysis of global terrestrial vegetation trends from MODIS products: browning or greening?  Remote Sensing of Environment. 191, p.145-155.

  • 2016 Publications

    2016 Publications

    Authors affiliated with the Global Water Initiative listed in bold.

    Boyce, Ross, Raquel Reyes, Michael Matte, Moses Ntaro, Edgar Mulogo, Joshua P. Metlay, Lawrence Band, and Mark J. Siedner, 2016.  Severe flooding and malaria transmission in the Western Ugandan highlands: Implications for disease control in an era of global climate change J Infect Disease,  doi:10.1093/infdis/jiw363

    Carr, J.A., P. D'Odorico, S. Suweis, D. Seekell, 2016. "What commodities and countries impact inequality in the global food system?", Environmental Research Letters., 11, 095013, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/9/095013,

    Carpenter, S.R., J.J. Cole, M.L. Pace, and G.M. Wilkinson.  2016.  Response of plankton to nutrients, planktivory and terrestrial organic matter: a model analysis of whole-lake experiments.  Ecology Letters 19: 230-239.

    Chiarelli, D.D., F.K. Davis, M.C. Rulli, P. D’Odorico, 2016. “Climate change and Large Scale Land Acquisitions in Africa: Quantifying the future impact on acquired water resources”. Adv. Water. Resour. 94, 231-237, 2016.

    Crouzy, B., F. Baerenbold, P. D’Odorico, P. Perona, 2016. “Ecomorphodynamic approaches to river anabranching patterns”, Adv. Water. Res. 93B, 156-165,

    Davis, K.F., J.A. Gephart, K. A. Emery, A.M. Leach, J.N. Galloway, P. D'Odorico, 2016. "Meeting future crop demand with current agricultural resources: Required changes in dietary trends and production efficiencies", Global Environmental Change, 39, 125-132.

    Davis, K.F., M.C. Rulli, F. Garrassino, A. Seveso, and P. D’Odorico, 2016. “Water limits to closing yield gaps”, Adv. Water Resour., 99, 67-75,

    Debaere, Peter and Jay Shimshack, 2016, The Economics of Corporate Social Responsibility, 2016, Darden Business Publishing, UVA- GEM143

    Emery, K.A., G.M. Wilkinson, V.F. Camacho-Ibar, M.L. Pace, K.J. McGlathery, J. M. Sandoval-Gil, and J. Hernandez-Lopez.  2016.  Resource use of an aquacultured oyster (Crassostrea gigas) in the reverse estuary Bahia San Quintin, Baja California, Mexico.  Estuaries and Coasts 39: 866-874.

    Emery, K.A., J.A. Gephart, G.M. Wilkinson, A.F. Besterman, and M.L. Pace.  2016.  Exploring trophic cascades in lake food webs with a spreadsheet model, p. 111-115.  In L.B. Byrne (ed.). Learner-centered teaching activities for environmental and sustainability studies. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland.

    Fader, M., M.C. Rulli, J. Carr, J. Dell'Angelo, P. D'Odorico, J. Gephart, M. Kummu, N. Magliocca, M. Porkka, C. Prell, M. Puma, Z. Ratajczak, D.A. Seekell, S. Suweis, A. Tavoni, 2016. "Past and present biophysical redundancy of countries as a buffer to changes in food supply". Environm. Res. Lett.,11, 055008.

    G.M. Geise, Influence of polymer backbone rigidity on water and salt transport properties of low water content membrane polymers for desalination, Advanced Membrane Technology VII: Engineering Conferences International, Sept. 2016.

    G.M. Geise, Structure/property relationships in polymer membranes for water purification and energy applications, APS Meeting Abstracts, 2016.

    Gephart, J.A., K.F. Davis, K.A. Emery, A.M. Leach, J.N. Galloway, and M.L. Pace.  2016.  The environmental cost of subsistence: optimizing diets to minimize footprints.  Science of the Total Environment 553: 120-127.

    Gephart, J.A., E. Rovenskaya, U. Dieckmann, M.L. Pace, A. Brannstrom.  2016.  Vulnerability to shocks in the global seafood trade network.  Environmental Research Letters 11: 035008 (10 pages).

    T. L. Greaver, C. M. Clark, J. E. Compton, D. Vallano, A. F. Talhelm, C. P. Weaver, L. E. Band, J. S. Baron, E. A. Davidson, C. L. Tague, E. Felker-Quinn, J. A. Lynch, J. D. Herrick, L. Liu, C. L. Goodale, K. J. Novak & R. A. Haeuber, 2016. Key ecological responses to nitrogen are altered by climate change.  Nature Climate Change 6, 836–843 (2016) doi:10.1038/nclimate3088.

    Henderson, Derek, Smith, J.A., and Fitch, G.M., 2016, Impact of Vegetation Management on Vegetated Roadsides and Their Performance as a Low-Impact-Development Practice for Linear Transportation Infrastructure: Transportation Research Record, DOI: 10.3141/2588-19.

    M.A. Hickner, G.M. Geise, A. Roy, Using the tools of polymer science to impact water treatment membranes, Polymer, 103 (2016) 415.

    Kahler, D.M., Koermer, N.T., Reichl, A.R., Samie, A., and Smith, J.A., 2016, Performance and acceptance of novel silver-impregnated ceramic cubes for drinking water treatment in two field sites: Limpopo Province, South Africa and Dodoma region, Tanzania: Water, v. 8, no. 3, doi: 10.3390/w8030095.

    Laio F., L. Ridolfi, and P. D'Odorico, 2016. "Past and future of food stocks", Environm. Res. Lett., 11, 035010,

    Larson, Nathan, Sekhri, Sheetal, and Rajinder Sidu, 2016, Adoption of Water-Saving Infrastructure in Agriculture: The Case of Laser Levelers, Water Resources and Economics, April 2016, Vol. 14: 44-64. 

    Leach, A., K.A Emery; J. Gephart; K.F. Davis; J.W. Erisman; A. Leip; M.L. PaceP. D'Odorico; J. Carr; L. Cattell Noll; E. Castner; J. N. Galloway, 2016. Environmental impact food labels combining carbon, nitrogen, and water footprints, Food Policy, 61, 213-223,

    MacDonald, G.K., P. D'Odorico, and D.A. Seekell, 2016. Pathways to sustainable intensification through crop water management. Environm. Res. Lett., 11, 091001,

    Marchand P., J. A. Carr, J. Dell’Angelo, M. Fader, J.A. Gephart, M. Kummu, N. R. Magliocca, M. Porkka, M. J. Puma, Z. Ratajczak, M. C. Rulli, D.A. Seekell, S. Suweis, A. Tavoni, P. D’Odorico, 2016. “Reserves and trade jointly determine exposure to food supply shocks”, Environm. Res. Lett., 11, 095009, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/11/9/095009.

    Murphy, A.E., K.A. Emery, I.C. Anderson, M.L. Pace, M.J. Brush, and J.E. Rheuban.  2016.  Quantifying the effects of commercial clam aquaculture on C and N cycling: an integrated ecosystem approach.  Estuaries and Coasts 39:1746-1761.

    C. Nam, T.J. Zimudzi, G.M. Geise, M.A. Hickner, Increased hydrogel swelling induced by absorption of small molecules, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 8 (2016) 14263.

    Nunnelley, K.G., and Smith, J.A., 2016, Nanotechnology for filtration-based point-of-use water treatment: A review of current understanding: in Joo, S.H., Applying Nanotechnology for Environmental Sustainability, IGI Global, p. 27-49; DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0585-3.ch002

    Phillips, S., & McGee, B. (2016). Ecosystem Service Benefits of a Cleaner Chesapeake Bay. Coastal Management, 241–258.

    Richter, B.D., E.M. Powell, T. Lystash, and M. Faggert. 2016. Protection and restoration of freshwater ecosystems.  Chapter 7 in Miller, Kathleen A., Alan F. Hamlet, Douglas S. Kenney, and Kelly T. Redmond (Eds.) Water Policy and Planning in a Variable and Changing Climate. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press - Taylor & Francis Group.

    Richter, B. 2016. Water Share: Using water markets and impact investment to drive sustainabilityThe Nature Conservancy, Arlington VA.

    Rulli, M.C., D. Bellomi, A. Cazzoli, G. De Carolis, and P. D’Odorico, “The water-energy-food nexus of first-generation biofuels”, Sci. Rep., 6:22521 doi:10.1038/srep22521, 2016.

    Saha, MV, P. D'Odorico, T.M. Scanlon, 2016. “Fire Suppresses Rainfall in African Drylands”, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL069855.

    Stefanski, S. F., & Shimshack, J. P. (2016). Valuing Marine Biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico: Evidence from the Proposed Boundary Expansion of the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary. Marine Resource Economics31(2), 211-232.

    Wilkinson, G.M, C.D. Buelo, J.J. Cole, and M.L. Pace 2016. Exogenously produced CO2 doubles the CO2 efflux from three north temperate lakes.  Geophysical Research Letters 43: 1996-2003.

    Winston, J.J., .l Emch, R.E. Meyer, P. Langlois, P. Weyer, B.Mosley, A.F. Olshan, L.E. Band, T.J. Luben, 2016.  Hypospadias and maternal exposure to atrazine via drinking water in the National Birth Defects Prevention study.  Environmental Health, 15:76 DOI 10.1186/s12940-016-0161-9 

    Yu, K., G.S., Okin, S. Ravi, P. D’Odorico, “Potential of grass invasions in desert shrublands to create novel ecosystem states under variable climate”, Ecohydrology, DOI: 10.1002/eco.1742, 2016

    Yu, K., M.J. Saha, and P. D’Odorico, 2016. “The effects of interannual rainfall variability on tree/grass composition along Kalahari rainfall gradient”. Ecosystems, 20(5), 975-988, doi:10.1007/s10021-016-0086-8,

    H. Zhang, G.M. Geise, Modeling the water permeability and water/salt selectivity tradeoff in polymer membranes, Journal of Membrane Science, 520 (2016) 790.

    Zhang, Y., C. Song, G. Sun, L.E. Band, S. McNulty, A. Noormets, Q. Zhang, Z. Zhang, 2016. Development of a coupled carbon and water model for estimating global gross primary productivity and evapotranspiration based on eddy flux and remote sensing data.  Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, doi:10.1016/j.agrformet.2016.04.003.