The College of Engineering (COE) has established a new research center, the Center for Hydrologic Development (CHD), designed to improve the prediction and management of water-related hazards. CHD draws on the expertise of IIHR—Hydroscience and Engineering.
Funding for the center comes from the new $360 million Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology (CIROH), based at the University of Alabama and funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The COE expects to receive up to $21 million from CIROH in the first five years.
Larry Weber, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the new research center, expects CHD to play a critical role in helping the National Weather Service achieve its goal of a water- and weather-ready nation. “The new Center for Hydrologic Development will build on the work of the Iowa Flood Center and provide a mechanism for researchers and students to expand flood center innovations beyond Iowa,” said Weber, who is also co-founder of the Iowa Flood Center.
CHD will focus on several key areas of research supporting CIROH’s commitment to advance the forecasting of floods, droughts, and water quality to improve decision-making. The new center will support a team of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars seeking experience in cutting-edge hydrology and informatics research.
Leveraging IFC’s expertise in hydroinformatics (water information systems), CHD will help NOAA advance web-based visualizations of critical water-related data. IFC’s innovations, such as the Iowa Flood Information System (IFIS), will serve to fast-track the wide-scale implementation of new tools to support CIROH.
“We have this unique opportunity because of the vision and leadership of the Iowa Legislature in establishing the flood center in 2009,” said Witold Krajewski, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Iowa Flood Center. “The new Center for Hydrologic Development will ensure Iowa remains a national leader in hydrologic research and education.”
CIROH consists of a constellation of about 30 academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and government and industry partners across the United States and Canada that will work together to support four broad themes: water prediction, hydrologic modeling, hydroinformatics, and the impacts of social, economic, and behavioral sciences on water prediction.
The Center for Hydrologic Development will support CIROH’s efforts to improve and enhance flood maps for the nation that more accurately communicate current and projected risks.