Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020RI207B

Understanding Urban Water Resources and Energy Nexus in Rhode Island

Institute: Rhode Island
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $23,234 Total Non-Federal Funds: $58,476

Principal Investigators: Ali Shafqat Akanda

Abstract: Rhode Island is the smallest and the second most densely populated state within the United States of America. About 90.7% of the inhabitants of this state live in urbanized areas. Creating a more beneficial situation for the state’s cities and towns, especially its urban water resources and energy services, thus equates to establishing improved conditions for a majority of its citizens. This proposal focuses on understanding the linkages between water and energy provisions in the state with a distinct focus on the urban environment. The overall research objective of this proposal is to quantify the water-for-energy and energy-for-water relationships and to understand these are linked with water and energy demand in the state in both space and time. In addition, we investigate how the urban water-energy nexus is linked with pollution risks of water resources systems and the urban heat island (UHI) phenomena in Rhode Island. The latter reveals a high share of people residing in areas with significantly increased temperatures, which results in considerable, potential benefits by mitigating the associated UHI. In our preliminary investigations, both water supply and power generation systems of the State exhibit advantageous characteristics, but we require adequate and modern data gathering techniques to enable more refined research approaches. Accordingly, we use state of the art remote sensing data sources to investigate the water-energy nexus conditions and its dependencies and impacts on related systems. A contribution of this research will be to identify appropriate abatement approaches that may increase resilience of the public water supply infrastructure and improve overall water resources sustainability in Rhode Island.