Water Institute Announces 2021 Seed Grant Recipients

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Water Institute is pleased to announce that two research teams have been awarded funding in the recent 2021 seed grant competition. The Water Institute’s seed grant program was initiated in 2014 to stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration, international partnerships, and to encourage the development of research proposals that tackle increasingly complex global water issues. 

This year’s seed grant projects include diverse initiatives and collaborators: 

Supporting decisions about groundwater extraction for irrigation with modern economic risk assessments  

Primary ApplicantAndrea Brookfield, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences 

Co-Applicants: 

Margaret Insley, Department of Economics

Chengguo Weng, Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science 

Irrigation of crop by rod from tractorThe team will explore the application of risk management strategies developed in the finance literature, in particular the use of conditional value at risk (CVAR), to decisions about groundwater extraction for agriculture. More specifically, the seed grant will be used to develop a decision-making framework using CVAR to characterize the risk-return tradeoff of groundwater extraction in an agricultural context. The team will develop this framework focusing on two case studies: 1) irrigation in the severely depleted High Plains Aquifer in Kansas; and 2) expanding irrigation in the Saskatchewan River watershed in the Canadian Prairies.  

Data fusion and analysis to predict overland flow flood risk: establishing a proof of concept 

Primary Applicant: Derek Robinson, Department of Geography and Environmental Management 

Co-Applicants: 

Bruce MacVicar, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Chul Min Yeum, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering 

Michael Drescher, School of Planning 

Strawberry Creek, California, appearing from water main under road. The team will use the seed grant to support work being undertaken by the City of Kitchener to restore Montgomery and Shoemaker creeks, which will include “daylighting” and reconfiguring water channels, installing new recreation areas, and, in collaboration with a local NGO (Reep Green Solutions), implementing a major educational and assistance campaign to encourage property owners to implement precipitation catchment features. The proposed seed grant will be used to 1) create a proof of concept showcasing how street-view data can be used to identify locations of flood risk, 2) collect baseline data prior to the modification of both the natural and human system, 3) identify critical properties for stormwater retention features, and 4) develop a working relationship with potential partners for future proposal collaboration. 

Congratulations to both of these research teams.

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