Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011DC132B

Integrated Water Use Impact Assessment for DC urban Infrastructure

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $40,972

Principal Investigators: Royce Francis

Abstract: The research proposed herein addresses tradeoffs with respect to expanding the physical capacity of infrastructure assets (e.g., pipes) against improving sequestration and containment measures (e.g., local stormwater containment or detention) through collaboration with customers. The objective of this research is to identify cost-effective approaches to reduction of the water use footprint of The George Washington University (GWU). In collaboration with the GWU Office of Sustainability and the DCWRRI, we will integrate life cycle cost analysis and life cycle impact assessment to evaluate GWU infrastructure investments intended to reduce its water use footprint. Potential investments will be identified through multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) and subsequently evaluated by a team of GWU students led by a Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering (EMSE) Ph.D. student. Dr. Royce Francis, an assistant professor in EMSE, will direct this team. In this proposal, we will use the cradle to cradle life cycle of a selected system as the system boundary, units or monetary value of system-relevant purchases as the functional unit of analysis, and employ a synthetic framework for the combination of life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA) and life cycle cost (LCC) and risk assessment (RA) methodologies where the impact of concern is life cycle cost over the life cycle of an infrastructure project. This proposal will demonstrate the potential for a natural synergy between life-cycle cost analysis and life-cycle impact assessment, while also making methodological contributions to the practice of water footprinting. This research proposes to address the DC Water stormwater management problem by developing a methodology that may be used to evaluate infrastructure investments intended to reduce an organizations stormwater loading. The George Washington University will be a testbed for this methodology. Efforts to reduce stormwater loading are part of a comprehensive approach to the reduction of water use impacts. As a result, this methodology will be developed through collaboration with The George Washington Universitys Office of Sustainability efforts to reduce the Universitys water use impacts. This research will make the following contributions: 1. This research will develop a water use evaluation methodology that might be deployed by other large DC Water customers; 2. This research will develop a methodology for evaluating the cost effectiveness of stormwater runoff reduction investments; 3. This research will make a methodological contribution to the field of life cycle analysis through developing an approach to evaluating water use impacts as an impact category in life cycle impact assessment.