Author Archives: admin

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PIRE Participants Publish in WIRES Water Journal

PIRE collaborators from UC Irvine, the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project, and the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Aquatic Pollution Identification and Management completed an initial study examining the proposed use of recycled waste-water for achieving various environmental and social goals in one Australian watershed. They conclude that, with dedicated public outreach, such an approach might be constructively applied to a variety of water quality problems.

Click the link below for the full article:

Governance Issues in Developing and Implementing Offsets for Water Management Benefits: Can Preliminary Evaluation Guide Implementation Effectiveness?

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UCI Water PIRE researchers published an article describing why dry weather urban runoff negatively impacts water quality along the shoreline of enclosed embayments in southern California, and how the drainage system could be re-engineered (following Australia’s lead) to improve the situation.

See the article (click here) and the press release (

Enclosed beaches along urban coastlines are frequent hot spots of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) pollution. In this paper we present field measurements and modeling studies aimed at evaluating the impact of small storm drains on FIB pollution at enclosed beaches in Newport Bay, the second largest tidal embayment in Southern California. Our results suggest that small drains have a disproportionate impact on enclosed beach water quality for fi ve reasons: (1) dry weather surface fl ows (primarily from overirrigation of lawns and ornamental plants) harbor FIB at concentrations exceeding recreational water quality criteria; (2) small drains can trap dry weather runoff during high tide, and then release it in a bolus during the falling tide when drainpipe outlets are exposed; (3) nearshore turbulence is low (turbulent diff usivities approx-imately 10 − 3 m 2 s − 1), limiting dilution of FIB and other runoff – associated pollutants once they enter the bay; (4) once in the bay, runoff can form buoyant plumes that further limit vertical mixing and dilution; and (5) local winds can force buoyant runoff plumes back against the shoreline, where water depth is minimal and human contact likely. Outdoor water conservation and urban retrofits that minimize the volume of dry and wet weather runoff entering the local storm drain system may be the best option for improving beach water quality in Newport Bay and other urban-impacted enclosed beaches.

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UPP Down Under for Water Sustainability !

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine is pleased to announce an exceptional opportunity for students interested in pursuing an advanced degree in environmental engineering. A select number of undergraduate students will participate in a six week research experience in July/August 2013, including a fully funded two week trip to Australia, to learn about water challenges facing Australia and the actions that are being taken relative to research, policy, and infrastructure engineering. The program is open to UCI, UCSD and UCLA undergraduate students who are U.S. citizens, and would be qualified for the Environmental Engineering graduate program upon completion of their undergraduate degree. This includes, but is not limited to, Civil and Environmental Engineering students, as the Environmental Engineering graduate program typically attracts students from several fields of engineering and natural sciences. The ultimate goal of the program is to encourage more UC undergraduate students to pursue doctoral studies focused on a pressing water challenge facing society.

Please submit your completed application and requested documents (personal statement, transcript, letter of recommendation, see below) by email at the following address:

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Two postdoctoral scholar positions are available for research on ecological aspects of implementing low-energy systems for treating wastewater

Expiration Date:  Tue, 2014-04-01

Organization:  UCLA/Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Two postdoctoral scholar positions are available for research on ecological aspects of implementing low-energy systems for treating wastewater (including stormwater and urban runoff). Research will include field studies of plant and animal communities associated with natural wetlands performing water quality improvement services and land-based mesocosms studies using native species for water quality improvement. Research goals are to employ biomimicry of wetland plants and animals (and their interactions) in the development of biofilters that enhance re-use of wastewater. One position will focus on plants (with Rich Ambrose at UCLA) and the other on animals (with Lisa Levin at Scripps Institution of Oceanography).

Qualifications: Ph.D. in wetland ecology or related field; experience conducting ecological field work; strong interpersonal and communication skills and ability to work effectively with a diverse team; demonstrated ability to conduct statistical analyses and produce publications. Preferred qualifications include: Research experience with wetland plants and/or invertebrates; experience with water quality and related sediment parameters, a record of publication; experience with collaborative interdisciplinary research. Must have car and ability to drive to field sites and between Scripps, UC Irvine and UCLA.

The start date is July 1, 2013. Funding is available for 2-3 years, contingent on successful performance, with a possibility of extension. Salary is set by the University of California pay scale, depends on experience, and includes full university benefits. Postdocs will be expected to mentor PIRE graduate students and participate in UCI PIRE training activities. The project involves close collaboration with researchers in Australia, and exchange with Australians via travel, communication and scientific collaboration will be an important part of the position.

Apply by electronically submitting 1) a cover letter that describes your interest and qualifications for the position, 2) a Curriculum Vitae that indicates when your Ph.D. was awarded (or is anticipated), and 3) email contact addresses for at least three references to Dr. Richard Ambrose at (plant focus) or Dr. Lisa Levin at (animal focus). Review of applications will begin on February 1, 2013 and continue until the positions are filled.

The University of California is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer with a strong institutional commitment to excellence through diversity.

Contact Information:

Prof. Richard Ambrose:

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Application for graduate financial support from the UCI NSF PIRE

Application for graduate financial support from the UCI NSF PIRE,

“Low Energy Options for Making Water from Wastewater”.


Please respond to the following questions (one paragraph maximum for each).

  1. Describe your research plans, including specifically (a) the overarching hypothesis you are testing, (b) how the hypothesis will be tested; (c) how the proposed  research  leverages  expertise at the University of Melbourne and/or Monash University, and  (d) how it link s into one (or more) of the four PIRE layers.
  2. Describe your qualifications for conducting the proposed research. If you feel you need additional knowledge in some area related to your project, describe how you plan to address your knowledge gap (e.g., by taking specific courses).  Also describe work already completed on the project, and any major outcomes (e.g., a published journal manuscript).
  3. Identify at least two advisors on the PIRE who will supervise your research (be sure to discuss your plans with potential PIRE advisors in advance).
  4. How much support are you requesting per year and for how many years? Describe how the support will be matched by UCI and/or non- UCI funds.  Include a timeline of  milestones for your research project (e.g.,  “A paper will be submitted to XX journal by XX date .”  If your project is funded, these milestones will be reviewed annually to evaluate progress and eligibility for ongoing support.

Funding decisions will begin November 15, 2012.

For more information, contact Stanley Grant,

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UCI Awarded $4.8 million NSF Research Foundation

UCI civil & environmental engineer Stanley Grant and his group have been selected by the National Science Foundation to spearhead a $4.8 million collaboration between Australian and southwestern U.S. partners to find low-energy methods of turning wastewater into drinking water. Climate change, drought and global population growth demand creative ways to augment decreasing supplies, Grant said. The project links five universities in two water-stressed regions of the world that have unique and complementary expertise in the development and deployment of rainwater tanks, biofilters and waste stabilization ponds for potable substitution and watershed protection. “It’s an absolute dream to be given this opportunity by the National Science Foundation,” Grant said. “The southwestern U.S. has much to learn from Australia on how to thrive in the face of dwindling freshwater supplies.” The goal of the project is to translate the Australian experience into practical steps California and other states can take to improve water productivity.

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