2019 Philadelphia Urban Water Workshop

Understanding water challenges,bridges and barriers

Dates: April 23-24, 2019

Location: University of Pennsylvania, Singh Center Glandt Forum

3205 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104


Agenda: Research Team Workshop

Date: April 23, 2019

Time: 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

Location: University of Pennsylvania, Singh Center Glandt Forum: 3205 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 

Meeting Goals

The primary goal of the 2019 Research Meeting is to identify mechanisms to facilitate joint research collaboration and partnerships between Philadelphia-based researchers and the existing Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN), as well as local utilities, organizations and relevant agencies.  After a brief introduction to the UWIN project, participants will engage in a discussion to:

  • Develop and define a set of Philadelphia-relevant research questions that UWIN research is currently addressing
  • Identify new projects that may either be funded by existing UWIN funds or proposed to NSF with a request for supplemental funds
  • Identify new project ideas that may be sponsored via collaborative funding between utilities (e.g. PWD) and UWIN to engage in relevant transdisciplinary research
  • Develop interdisciplinary teams of scholars that can collectively identify and pursue new funding opportunities


Philadelphia Regional Water Challenges: https://erams.com/UWIN/research_main/regions/philadelphia/

UWIN Research Projects: https://erams.com/UWIN/research-projects/

UWIN Study Regions: https://erams.com/UWIN/research_main/regions/

UWIN Stakeholder-Science: Bolson, J., Sukop, M. C., Arabi, M., Pivo, G., & Lanier, A. (2018). A stakeholder-science based approach using the national urban water innovation network as a test bed for understanding urban Water sustainability challenges in the U.S.. Water Resources Research, 54, 3453– 3471. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017WR021191



8:30 am – 9:00 am

Continental Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:15 am

Welcome & Introductions

Mike Sukop (UWIN): Welcome and agenda overview

Howard Neukrug (U-Penn Water Center)

All: Self-introductions

9:15 am – 10:15 am

Introduction UWIN Research & Stakeholder Engagement Efforts

UWIN Stakeholder Engagement Team (Arabi, Bolson, Pivo, Sukop)

UWIN Researchers (Cherrier, Meggers, Miller, Welty)

10:15 am – 10:30 am


10:30 am –  12:30 pm

Regional Water Challenges & Priorities

Learn from local researchers and discuss local water challenges, regional priorities, and experience working with local utilities (PWD).  Identify opportunities to leverage existing funds or pursue new projects.

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm

Lunch (Kosher Style)

Philadelphia Stakeholder Meeting Agenda

Date: April 24, 2019

Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Location:  University of Pennsylvania, Singh Center Glandt Forum: 3205 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 

Parking:  If you plan to drive, please park in the garage located at 34th and Chestnut, from 34th Street and pull at ticket.  We will provide a “chaser ticket” during the meeting.  When you exit the garage insert your original ticket, followed by the chaser ticket and the gate will go up. You must exit from the 34th Street exit.

Meeting Goals

The purpose of the 2019 Philadelphia Stakeholder Meeting is to understand regional water challenges and identify current UWIN activities that may help address these issues. The meeting will develop a mechanism to incorporate Philadelphia as a UWIN study city and leverage current activities that strive to connect people concerned with urban water sustainability. During the meeting, we will introduce the UWIN project, work to identify concerns, needs, and potential urban water sustainability solutions within the Philadelphia urban area, and collectively think about how UWIN research can assist. Input gathered during the meeting will be used to guide national-level project efforts, which include the development of an urban water sustainability framework, the UWIN Blueprint.



8:30 am – 9:00 am

Continental Breakfast

9:00 am – 9:15 am

Welcome & Introductions

Mazdak Arabi: Welcome and agenda overview

Howard Neukrug:  U-Penn Water Center

All: Self-introductions

9:15 am – 10:15 am

Introduction to UWIN & Research Presentation

Mazdak Arabi, Mike Sukop

UWIN Stakeholder Engagement & Research Teams

10:15 am – 10:30 am

Break & Purposeful Conversation

Find someone you don’t know and share your water goals, successes, or concerns

10:30 am –  12:00 pm

Network Activity #1: Bridges and Barriers

Activity focused on identifying barriers to solutions and bridges to overcome these challenges.

12:00 pm – 12:45 pm

Lunch (Kosher Style)

12:45 pm – 1:15 pm

Network Activity #2:

Discussing, refining, categorizing and assessing ideas from Activity #1

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm

Network Activity #3: Facilitated Discussion (Academic Research)

What are your greatest needs for assistance and how might academic partnerships address them? For example, linking with academic experts, to help you learn from peers via various communication avenues, inform our research activities, data needed to help you implement actions toward desired water targets

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Network Activity #4: Facilitated Discussion (Social Networks)

Assess and discuss the role of social networks in transitioning to sustainable urban water systems.

3:00 pm – 3:15 pm


3:15 pm – 3:45 pm

Closing Discussion

Next steps, how to stay in touch and share information

3:45 pm – 4:00 pm

Post-workshop survey

Introduction to the NSF Funded Sustainability Research Network: 

Urban Water Innovation Network (UWIN)

Extreme events and global climate change can have profound impacts on water security, shattering the most vulnerable communities and instilling enormous costs on governments and economies. Effective response to these challenges requires transitioning to both technological and management solutions that protect water systems from pressures and enhance their resilience.

The Urban Water Innovation Network is a consortium of nearly 20 academic institutions and key water industry partners, with activities currently underway in six regions across the U.S. designed to capture water challenges in a variety of contexts from coastal communities to high plains deserts. 

MISSION: Create technological, institutional, and management solutions to help communities increase the resilience of their water systems and enhance preparedness for responding to water crises.

UWIN is charged with compiling globally relevant solutions and best practices for urban water systems.  The cumulative efforts of the Network will products an Urban Water Sustainability Blueprint, which will provide steps and guidance for integrated management of urban water systems.  The Blueprint will emphasize solutions focused on

  • Reducing pressures on urban water systems
  • Enhancing resilience of the water supply
  • Maximizing co-benefits of integrated water management  



The Network’s research activities aim to create knowledge and increase fundamental understanding of challenges to urban water systems and find solutions to enhance preparedness for responding to water crises in regions across the United States. The Network’s research activities are conducted through 21 projects, organized into four integrated research thrusts:

  1. Assessment – Thrust A projects aim to advance fundamental knowledge about the sustainability of urban water systems, by comparing observed trends in the past with alternative future conditions.
  2. Solutions – Using data, models, and enhanced process understanding from Thrust A, the impacts of innovative technological solutions on sustainability of water systems across ecohydrologic regions are examined under Thrust B.
  3. Pathways – Activities under Thrust C explore how cities can intentionally foster the widespread adoption of infrastructure, development patterns, consumer behaviors, and management practices that advance sustainable water management.
  4. Integration – Thrust D activities focus on integration of data, models and products from all other themes and projects to facilitate enhanced decision making. 



UWIN has established six highly connected regional urban water sustainability hubs in densely populated regions across the nation to serve as innovation centers, building trust through stakeholder engagement and helping communities transition to sustainable management of water resources.

These six geographically diverse regions represent some of the most populated and rapidly urbanizing regions in the Nation, as well as varying ecohydrologic and climatic regimes ranging from coastal moist mid-latitude climates of the Mid-Atlantic to the semi-arid deserts of the Southwest. These regions also represent a wide spectrum of demographic, cultural and policy settings. Such diversity enables cross-site assessments that facilitate the exploration of locally appropriate sustainable technological, sociopolitical and management solutions across regions undergoing various development trajectories. The six regions include:

  • Mid-Atlantic – encompassing the nearly continuous urban agglomeration from the New York tri-state area to the Baltimore-Washington, DC area.
  • South Florida – including the Cities of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach
  • Phoenix-Tucson Sun Corridor – Centered upon Phoenix
  • Front Range of Colorado – Centered upon Denver
  • Pacific Northwest Cascadia – Centered upon Portland, OR
  • Los Angeles Metropolitan region – Centered upon the Santa Ana Watershed



Stakeholder participation is central to the success of UWIN. Stakeholder engagement primarily seeks to gather input that guides the research programs of UWIN by aiding in the development of the Urban Water Sustainability Blueprint. Stakeholder engagement also ensures relevant research targets and trajectories are being met.

Engagement efforts further aid in the development of a national network of water stakeholders. This network will facilitate information exchange and shared experiences on sustainable management of urban water systems while fostering social learning.



UWIN is characterizing and quantifying a set of common indicators that define the essential characteristics of urban water systems, allowing classification and comparison of these systems in cities across the U.S. and globally.

The innovative and adaptive research approach will ultimately produce an Urban Water Sustainability Blueprint that outlines effects and tradeoffs associated with sustainable solutions for cities of all sizes. It will also provide steps and guidance for action based on the collective knowledge gained by the research and the collaborative approach of the SRN. The blueprint will aid in disseminating broadly relevant best practices and solutions found through research and engagement with stakeholders, planners, and policy makers. In addition, the Blueprint will be rigorously vetted by regional stakeholders across the U.S. and the global urban water community.


Here are some general categories of data we are seeking for each of the UWIN study regions.  As we further refine the list we will also include information about how the data will be used and what questions will be addressed, which we can discuss in greater detail during the workshop.  This should provide a broad overview of the information we hope to collect:

  • Water use data
  • Water and wastewater rate data
  • Stormwater
    • SWMM models for select sewer sheds
    • Stormwater collection systems (pipes/infrastructure)
    • Green Infrastructure (locations, types, dates of installation)
    • GIS format
    • Tree inventories/data
  • Drinking water
    • Distribution systems
    • EPANET models (if available)
    • Energy use at facilities
    • Water quality/testing
  • Wastewater
    • Collection systems
    • Energy use at facilities
  • Social/policy data
    • Census of governments (local water organizations) – potential contacts and managers within these organizations to conduct the social network surveys
    • Water policy data (if available)
  • Population Growth Projections
  • Impervious surface data (finer resolution than is available from the national land cover data bases)