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Alabama is blessed with an abundant supply of water. The present management and development of the state’s water resources will largely determine the quality of life for future Alabamians. Water is frequently cited by top state officials as the number one natural resource concern in Alabama. As this state grows, so will the demand on our water resources. Decisions must be made concerning the myriad of inter-related water resources needs – municipal, industrial, and agricultural water supplies; waste-water disposal systems; flood and drought management; recreation areas for fishing, boating, and swimming; and fish/wildlife habitat. In making decisions concerning water resources use, all factors (environmental, economic, and social) must be taken into account. Scientific research provides a technical base of information necessary for decision making. That being said, the AWRRI’s mission is to provide technical information relevant to the conservation and use of Alabama’s water resources.
Purpose of the Institute
The institute is a university-based, interdisciplinary, problem-oriented research and technology center with support from the Federal Government that enables our program to address broad national needs and relevant industrial technology.
Our goal is to support research and training that is responsive to the identified priority problems of our State and the Southeastern Region of the United States. Virtually all “national” water resources problems are thereby covered. The AWRRI focuses on research proposals that have a high probability of producing useful results and/or attracting more adequate funding based on positive results.
To plan, conduct, and otherwise arrange for competent research that fosters (a) the entry of new research scientists into the water resources fields, (b) the training and education of future water scientists, engineers and technicians, (c) the preliminary exploration of new ideas that address water problems or expand understanding of water and water-related phenomena, and (d) the dissemination of research results to water managers and the public.
To identify major research needs and develop for Alabama and the Southeastern Region short- and long-term research priorities.
To encourage research applying to environmental resources closely associated with water.
To maintain close consultation and collaboration with governmental agencies, public groups, and cooperate closely with other colleges and universities in the state that have demonstrated capabilities for research, information dissemination, and graduate training in order to develop a statewide program designed to resolve state and regional water and related land problems.
Services Provided by the Institute
The essential ingredient for determining proper policies and practices is factual information. Often such information must be obtained by means of scientific research. The Institute conducts a program that stimulates, sponsors, and provides for research, investigation, and experimentation in the fields of water and of resources as they affect water, and encourages the training of scientists in the fields related to water.
Project Planning Assistance:
Successful management requires planning that not only has access to the best available scientific information, but also involves effective communication and coordination between individuals and groups.
A hallmark of the Institute is its commitment to program management. Continuing fiscal management to the project level and frequent contact with principal investigators and their Department Heads and Deans is bolstered by midyear detailed project reviews. Principal Investigators are specifically advised about information needs and schedules to meet reporting requirements of the granting agencies. The Institute provides financial, editorial, and other assistance to insure that publishable results are made available and made known through appropriate media.
Education and Training:
Students are an integral part of the Institute’s research program as one of the Institute’s primary goals is to transmit, store, and use knowledge to train future scientists.
Although the Institute does not have the responsibility for course instruction leading to a specific degree, it supplements and extends existing programs. It provides a variety of educational opportunities for students and helps them to develop an understanding of the problems of natural resource management at theoretical and practical levels. In many cases, students work on a particular aspect of a research project which then becomes the basis for their Master’s theses or Doctoral dissertations.
The process of having a high level of activity by many people interactively engaged in advancing water science and solving water resources problems is an accumulating investment in human capital. People are training and being trained to deal with the even greater problems of the future. Education is an investment in a trained cadre of experts for the future.