In June, Ph.D. student Rob Sowby spent two weeks at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) to collaborate with PNNL researchers and study the energy requirements of public water supply. The visit was part of a larger partnership between PNNL and the University to study urban water resilience. Sowby also recently earned his Utah Professional Engineer license.

Erfan Goharian, PhD candidate in water resource management at University of Utah, presented the comparison of future water resource system responses in Las Vegas (LV) and Salt Lake City (SLC) in 2015 UCOWR/NIWR/CUAHSI Conference. In collaboration with University of Nevada – Las Vegas, he evaluated the future tradeoffs among water supply and demand under growing population and climate change in these two cities. “Water conservation is investigated as one of the solution in Salt Lake City and Las Vegas to mitigate the impact of population growth and climate change. The result of our study shows, in both systems, if no further demand management policies are implemented the current water supply budget would not be able to meet future demands. Although, the Las Vegas’ water system is much more vulnerable than Salt Lake City’s system, SLC’s water supply system will fail in a longer time period,” said Erfan Goharian. The 2015 Annual Conference of the Universities Council on Water Resources, the National Institutes for Water Resources, and the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science was held June 16-18 in Henderson, NV, with the message of “Water is Not for Gambling”.

Dan Stout and Thomas Walsh (alumni of the Urban Water Group), along with Dr.Steve Burian, recently published a paper titled 'Ecosystem services from rainwater harvesting in India' in the Urban Water Journal. NASA has highlighted their research and the journal paper in an article (accessible by clicking the image above). The paper can be found at
Group members (from left to right) Erfan Goharian, Youcan Feng, Pratibha Sapkota, Carly Hansen, Hassan Tavakol-Davani, Dr.Steven Burian and Jai Panthail at the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress (EWRI 2015) in Austin, Texas. EWRI 2015 was held from May 17-21 this year. The group members presented at multiple sessions.

PhD student, Hassan Tavakol-Davani, will work as a Management Intern at the Department of Transportation and Stormwater of the City of San Diego. He will help the City with developing the stormwater data relational databases, as well as sampling and testing stormwater quality to keep the city in compliance with its NPDES permit.

Jai Panthail (pictured here, 3rd from left) won the 1st Prize in the Master's category of the 10th Annual J. Paul Riley AWRA-Utah Section Student Conference. He presented a paper titled 'Linking contaminant deposition to snowpack depletion in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah using MODIS albedo data and a machine learning-based Albedo-Snow Water Equivalent model'

Erfan Goharian worked in collaboration with Polytechnic Institute of NYU (Dr. Karamouz) and University of Tehran (Dr. Zahmatkesh) to build a new framework to map coastal/urban floodplains and develop planning strategies in New York City.  They implement new decentralized alternatives to mitigate the impact of climate change on future floods in New York City. The results of study are presented in different papers and published by well-known ASCE journals.

About the Urban Water Group

The Urban Water Group at the University of Utah addresses problems related to urban water resources and water infrastructure systems including water supply, stormwater management, flood control, and wastewater management. The group is led by Dr. Steve Burian and Dr. Christine Pomeroy and consists of more than 15 full-time and part-time graduate and undergraduate students. The group conducts research using a range of computational resources, a green infrastructure research facility, analytical wet lab space, and a network of green infrastructure and urban hydrology study sites in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.

The Urban Water Group at the University of Utah is very involved with the Global Change and Sustainability Center (GCSC) and the USAID-funded Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water (PCASW) and seeks to develop interdisciplinary research and teaching activities related to water in the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Steve Burian is currently serving as the Associate Director of GCSC and the Project Director of PCASW.