Urban Water Infrastructure and Watershed Management

Valerie Fuchs
Start Date: 
October, 2010
  1. The quality of the water and preservation and enhancement of biological resources in the Hudson River are influenced significantly by the actions of federal, state, and local governments. Laws and regulations control human uses of the Hudson, and in turn, influence the River’s ecology. The past and potential impacts of policies affecting the River–positive or negative, direct or indirect–include those affecting water quality, habitat, fisheries, access to the River, and public knowledge and understanding of the system. This project investigates the impacts of land use policy on water quality in the Hudson River basin.  Land use decisions include forest protection, agriculture and industrial activity, and urban expansion.  Land use changes from the last thirty years are mapped and correlated to federal, state and local land use policy changes as well as to USGS water quality data to understand the effects of land use policy on water quality.  The GIS is then linked to a system dynamics model which describes the causal relationships between stakeholder decisions, land use changes and ecosystem effects and the linked models can be used to project spatial and temporal differences in ecosystem resources for a variety of potential land use policies at different scales.
  2. Yale University is embarking on a pathway toward sustainability through its Sustainability Strategic Plan, which include goals to develop a Water Use Plan and a Stormwater Management Plan.  These plans need to specify at what scales sustainable technologies and strategies are cost- and resource-effective.  Through linking a GIS of water resources and green/grey space on the Yale campus to hydrological and hydraulic models and a system dynamics model, decision-making can be optimized for siting and implementing water and stormwater management.