In a warmer, uncertain future, local officials may face tough decisions over water, energy and agriculture. To help program managers, agencies and local communities coordinate decision-making efforts, a research project led by Meghna Babbar-Sebens, associate professor in the College of Engineering, aims to establish clear pathways for adapting to natural resource limitations, such as shortages of water, reductions in energy and changes in land-use policies.
She and her OSU collaborators — Ganti Murthy, Jenna Tilt and Jeffrey Reimer — and Snehasis Mukhopadhyay and Arjan Durresi at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, have received support through a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture via an interagency partnership with the National Science Foundation.
“The grant is about building the next generation of decision-support systems for enabling adaptation in interconnected food-energy-water systems,” says Babbar-Sebens. The research team is working with communities in Hermiston and neighboring communities in Umatilla and Morrow counties. They will focus on developing long-term water management plans that are resilient to declining groundwater and changing socioeconomic conditions.
Babbar-Sebens specializes in hydroinformatics, the use of information technologies and artificial intelligence to improve watershed management in a changing climate.