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Jul 17 2013

New EcoPartnership to Address Clean Water Challenges in China

EcoPartnership

NYIT Dean Nada Anid and Professor Zheng of Peking University

NYIT Dean Nada Anid and PKU Professor Chunmiao Zheng during the EcoPartnership signing ceremony on July 11 in Washington, DC.

NYIT Dean Nada Anid at EcoPartnershp Event at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.

NYIT Dean Anid with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Chinese State Councilor Yang, and Representatives of the U.S.-China EcoPartnerships. More U.S. State Department photos at Flickr.

New York, N.Y. (July 17, 2013) --  New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and Peking University (PKU) are leading a project that has been selected as one of six new U.S.-China EcoPartnership programs intended to promote innovative models for collaboration between the United States and China on clean water and environmental sustainability.   

The program, “EcoPartnership on Groundwater Monitoring, Protection, and Training,” aims to promote a comprehensive approach to creating innovations in sustainable groundwater supply and protection in China, ranging from the introduction of technology breakthroughs in groundwater monitoring, pollution control, and remediation, to improved training for groundwater management. The EcoPartnership will address severe groundwater shortages and contamination in select sites in China as well as strengthen ongoing collaborations between the two universities as part of a team that also includes Wuhan University, the International Society for Water Solutions of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and HDR|HydroQual, an industrial partner. 

EcoPartnerships represent a select group of public, private, and non-profit organizations from the U.S. and China that have joined together to pilot best practices including promoting economic growth, energy security, and environmental sustainability. The project will run from September 2013 through August 2015.

Three innovative technologies being developed as part of the EcoPartnership for the effective detection, protection and monitoring of groundwater resources in China include:

  • An integrated web-based groundwater tool being developed by NYIT through the Green Technologies Laboratory of its Entrepreneurship and Technology Innovation Center (ETIC) in collaboration with Wuhan University. This tool will combine data from various water table sources for use by local communities in arid regions of China to identify locations where groundwater is most abundant. Leveraging the ETIC’s resources, NYIT will also develop education and training for the students, practitioners, and community members in China directly supporting the project.
  • The second technology, to be introduced by HDR|HydroQual, is a remote telemetry framework to collect and analyze groundwater data from existing or newly developed wells. The company has designed and implemented similar systems in many parts of the world and will use its experience to help design, implement and train Chinese counterparts and environmental protection employees in operating such systems.
  • The third technology is the groundwater transport simulation system developed at PKU’s Center for Water Research (CWR). This system has a comprehensive set of options and capabilities for simulating advection, dispersion, and chemical reactions of contaminants in groundwater flow systems. It has been widely used in many parts of the world as an important tool in groundwater pollution control and remediation. The CWR at PKU will make system improvements during this EcoPartnership and also will provide courses and training on this system.   

One project site identified by the EcoPartners is in Gansu province near the Gobi desert, and will be   supported by the local authorities and faculty and students at the partner universities using the tool that NYIT will develop. Another site is located in a more developed urban area in Beijing, which is experiencing severe water shortage due to the rapid increase in water demand and a prolonged drought that started in the late 1990’s.

Nada Anid

Chunmiao

Cui

Value of EcoPartnership

“Our EcoPartnership project is unique because it brings together diverse experts and stakeholders to improve pressing water scarcity issues in China. It builds on NYIT’s existing relationships with various organizations and academic institutions and leverages forums on Sustainability and Water Management we recently led in China, said Nada Marie Anid, Ph.D., dean, NYIT’s School of Engineering and Computing Sciences and the U.S. lead on the project, with Xiaohui (Sean) Cui, Ph.D., dean, International School of Software, Wuhan University. “We are proud to have been selected in one of the most competitive application cycles in the history of the EcoPartnership program, and we are ready to get to work,” she added. Anid, who in 2010 received funding from the National Science Foundation for a US-China Planning visit, and others from NYIT attended the EcoPartnership Signing Ceremony and EcoPartnerships Workshop at the U.S. Department of State, July 11-12 in Washington, DC, as part of the 5th Strategic and Economic Dialogue.

“This EcoPartnership offers a great opportunity and innovative platform for advancing environmental sustainability, especially with regards to groundwater resources.  Groundwater provides about 20% of total water supplies for China, and provides 50 to 80% of water in water-scarce north and northwest regions of the country. However, the groundwater resource is being depleted at an alarming rate in many parts of China and groundwater contamination is widespread.  By working with our international partners, we hope to apply advanced and innovative technologies to address groundwater scarcity and contamination problems towards more sustainable groundwater use and management,” said Peking University project lead  Chunmiao Zheng, Chair Professor and Director of the Center for Water Research there.

Cui, of Wuhan University’s International School of Software, said, “This project brings together diverse stakeholders to investigate a promising technology that addresses a most pressing issue in arid areas of northwestern China. Most local villages in this region rely on rain water or wells as their major water resource. Given the trend toward decreasing precipitation coupled with non-sustainable use of underground water, existing wells are drying up more frequently than in previous decades. Local residents, especially during periods of drought, are forced to search for new well sites in order to meet their daily water needs. As a Chinese scientist, it is my duty to contribute my knowledge to my homeland to solve the issue my people are facing.”

Core Team Roles

The core team will also identify joint research areas, as well as develop training materials for the next generation of professionals in groundwater supply and protection, as well as develop scientific, business, and community outreach programs. These activities will build on existing collaborations between the core team and associated parties, to advance research and practical training. 

Core team members met in 2010 at the International “Think Green Conference” in Nanjing, China, sponsored by NYIT and Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications (NUPT) and agreed to collaborate on identifying locations in China for training and experiential student learning. A 2012 Beijing conference on “Water Management and Global Issues,” co-sponsored by NYIT and the PKU Center for Water Research, deepened and broadened the conversation as its attendees pledged to continue their work on critical water scarcity problems.  NYIT faculty, recognized for their expertise in water quality, pollution prevention, information technology, industrial ecology and contaminant flow assessment, will share their knowledge of efficient water conservation practices with their counterparts in China. 

About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.

Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 95,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit nyit.edu.


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