Foundation Research at a Glance
Use this primer as a quick guide to key drinking water issues.
What is the Issue?
The Foundation is Researching: What Does the Future Hold?
The planet’s climate is warming,
affecting drinking water supplies.
Early snowmelt, rising sea levels,
floods, and drought are changing
water quality and quantity.
Climate change adaptation •
Risk management tools •
The effects of flooding on •
The effects of underground carbon •
sequestration on groundwater
EDCs and PPCPs
Trace amounts of endocrine
disrupting compounds (EDCs),
pharmaceuticals, and personal care
products (PPCPs) have been found
in source and drinking water. The
media, the public, and regulators
have voiced concern.
How to optimize treatment systems
to remove these chemicals
Accurate, consistent analytical
methods to test for EDCs and PPCPs
Utility communication and
The U.S. water infrastructure is old
and in some areas, failing, requiring
an estimated investment of $335
billion over 20 years, according to
Tools to help utilities assess pipes
without digging them up
The lifespan and performance
of various pipe materials
Asset management theory •
Water utilities anticipate labor
shortages in the next decade due
to the aging, retiring workforce and
lack of students entering water-related fields.
How to implement succession
planning, knowledge management,
recruitment, training, and retention
How to build a sustainable
Water utilities’ energy bills and
costs are climbing due to advanced
treatment technologies and water
scarcity. At the same time, utilities
need to monitor and reduce
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
How to use advanced treatment
technologies more energy efficiently,
as well as how utilities can operate
A protocol to measure utilities’
As weather grows more extreme, there
will be more rapid changes to the water
cycle. We believe utilities should add
flexibility to their planning cycles and
may need to invest billions of dollars into
new technology and storage systems.
We believe regulators will increasingly
scrutinize EDCs and PPCPs. And we
want to prevent or treat EDC and PPCP
sources before they enter source water,
rather than after they have entered our
drinking water treatment facilities.
We believe there will be widespread
adoption of asset management within
utilities and the development of new
technologies to cost-effectively assess
and repair buried assets.
We want high schools, community
college, and university career counselors
to gain tools to promote the water utility
profession as a career of choice, allowing
us to fill the pipeline with tomorrow’s
We believe GHG regulation is pending.
In response, utilities will turn to
renewable energy. Industry leaders will
add further automation to optimize
processes and reduce energy use.