Colorado State University is a founding member of the first North American UNESCO water center approved by the United Nations.
The agreement means that the roughly 120 professors conducting water-related research at Colorado State will help provide guidance on issues largely facing the world including:
• hydrologic and hydraulic engineering;
• water planning and systems management;
• water policy development and governance;
• ecosystem sustainability;
• socioeconomic analysis;
• conflict resolution; and
• global change.
“Colorado State University water engineering alumni are in key positions around the globe because of the reputation of our water engineering program and our persistence – and success – in solving environmental problems on a mass scale,” said Tony Frank, president of Colorado State. “It’s not a question of where our alumni are, it’s where aren’t they? We look forward to working with the UN on critical water-resource issues.”
The university’s College of Engineering last week formalized the agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Institute for Water Resources, which is the lead institution in the new water center, known as the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management. The center is based in Fort Belvoir, Va., and is part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO.
The overall mission of the new center is “the advancement of the science and practice of integrated water resources management to address water security and other water-related challenges by regional and global action, through new knowledge, innovative technologies, collaborative interdisciplinary scientific research, networking, training and capacity development within the framework of UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme.”
CSU’s International School for Water Resources in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department will serve as the host organization for the UNESCO Centre along with the Colorado Water Institute and the Department of Sociology. The international school has provided training and guidance at Colorado State University for participants from more than 65 countries.
Evan Vlachos, professor of sociology and civil engineering and associate director of the International School for Water Resources, negotiated the agreement on behalf of CSU and acts as coordinator for this new initiative.
“This is the place that developed modern-day irrigated agriculture,” said Vlachos, a 40-year veteran for Colorado State. “Now we are addressing global challenges in an integrated interdisciplinary fashion in partnership with UNESCO.”
“Our faculty, in civil engineering and other departments across campus, has a worldwide reputation for excellence,” said Luis Garcia, chair of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. “We take pride in having alumni around the world and continue to train students to become leaders in the water field, both in the United States and abroad.”
Other participating institutions in the new UN center include USAID, The Nature Conservancy, the State Department, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Arizona and Oregon State University.