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Emily Berglund

Grants

Date: 09/01/20 - 8/31/25
Amount: $494,421.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

Dr. Birkland will contribute his expertise on environmental policy and on key theories of the public policy-making process, with a focus on operationalization of the Institutional Analysis and Development-Socio-Ecological Systems (IAD-SES) framework.

Date: 10/01/21 - 9/30/23
Amount: $69,924.00
Funding Agencies: US-Israel Binational Science Foundation

Recent research has shown that water demands have significantly changed during the pandemic. New patterns are emerging both in diurnal patterns and in the volume of demands exerted at residential vs. non-residential nodes, and these changes can affect the operation and management of water infrastructure. Changes in water demands are caused by social distancing that individuals adopt in response to the pandemic, as community members make decisions to comply with shelter-in-place orders or choose to self-quarantine. Decisions about social distancing are driven by perceptions of risk and assessment of coping capacity, based on the Protection-Motivation Theory. In this research, we propose to develop a coupled agent-based model and hydraulic framework to capture how the interactions among individuals lead to community compliance with shelter-in-place orders, changes in water demands, and impacts on water infrastructure performance. The agent-based model will simulate households as individual entities with rules encoded to represent that households share and receive information through social networks; assess risk and appraise coping strategies; make decisions about working remotely and visiting places of business; and use water based on their decisions to comply with shelter-in-place orders. The agent-based model will be coupled with hydraulic simulation of the water infrastructure to evaluate changes in hydraulic performance and explore needed changes in operations. The agent-based model that is developed through this research will simulate how the spread of information affects compliance with social distancing directives and the pattern and location of water demands. Changes in daily patterns of behaviour translate to changes in consumption of infrastructure services and natural resources, which has broad applications for management of infrastructure systems, including water distribution systems.

Date: 09/01/21 - 8/31/23
Amount: $84,369.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Water Resources Research Institute

Ninety-seven of the one hundred counties in North Carolina have at least one community water system with leaded infrastructure. Collectively, these systems serve 10 million people. In 20 counties, 80% or more of the water systems reported leaded infrastructure, serving a total of over one million North Carolinians. Unfortunately, water systems do not have records with sufficient detail to identify highest risk areas at finer spatial scales. Furthermore, there is virtually no data, at any scale, about the privately owned portions of the water transportation systems, namely the privately owned portion of the service line and the household premise plumbing. This proposal addresses the problem that leaded drinking water infrastructure poses a significant health risk across NC. Water utilities cannot properly manage water lead levels without sufficient data about leaded premise plumbing and lead in tap water at households. The EPA funded a project to create Crowd the Tap, a citizen science project in which households share information about their drinking water infrastructure. We propose a Citizen Science Internship program at Shaw University in which student interns function as ambassadors for Crowd the Tap, carrying out direct outreach (in accordance with COVID safety protocols) to priority communities in order to fill data gaps particularly for the DEQs Needs Assessment, NGO/CBO lead mitigation programs, and a statistical model to reliably predict household risk of lead.

Date: 09/01/21 - 8/31/23
Amount: $35,600.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Water Resources Research Institute

Ninety-seven of the one hundred counties in North Carolina have at least one community water system with leaded infrastructure. Collectively, these systems serve 10 million people. In 20 counties, 80% or more of the water systems reported leaded infrastructure, serving a total of over one million North Carolinians. Unfortunately, water systems do not have records with sufficient detail to identify highest risk areas at finer spatial scales. Furthermore, there is virtually no data, at any scale, about the privately owned portions of the water transportation systems, namely the privately owned portion of the service line and the household premise plumbing. This proposal addresses the problem that leaded drinking water infrastructure poses a significant health risk across NC. Water utilities cannot properly manage water lead levels without sufficient data about leaded premise plumbing and lead in tap water at households. The EPA funded a project to create Crowd the Tap, a citizen science project in which households share information about their drinking water infrastructure. We propose a Citizen Science Internship program at Shaw University in which student interns function as ambassadors for Crowd the Tap, carrying out direct outreach (in accordance with COVID safety protocols) to priority communities in order to fill data gaps particularly for the DEQs Needs Assessment, NGO/CBO lead mitigation programs, and a statistical model to reliably predict household risk of lead.

Date: 04/01/18 - 3/31/23
Amount: $540,000.00
Funding Agencies: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The EPA lead and copper rule shares responsibility for reducing water lead hazards between water utilities and consumers. The first incarnation of this rule appropriately emphasized utility-centric frameworks with corrosion control, pipe replacement in some circumstances and public education. Over-confidence in the effectiveness of corrosion control and pressures on utilities and regulators to cut corners to support the utility centric framework have resulted in several water crisis in which consumers were falsely informed that their water is safe to drink when it was not. Revelations from the Flint water crisis and its aftermath has undermined consumer trust in government at all levels, the U.S. EPA, water utilities, and potable water quality, in general. The obvious failure of the utility-centric model has caused many consumers to abandon potable water for cooking and drinking, which has serious financial impacts on consumers, negative implications for environmental and fiscal sustainability of cities, and has fueled environmental justice concerns in Flint and elsewhere. This research proposes a bottom-up consumer-centric framework to complement and balance the existing top-down utility-centric approach. Research goals are to 1) help consumers to first understand their personal responsibility to protect themselves from water lead risks dependent on their particular circumstance (e.g., responsible party for corrosion control, responsible party for lead bearing plumbing, source water chemistry), 2) develop quantitative models and resources that help consumers predict their relative risk for elevated lead in water as a function of their water supply, neighborhood and existing plumbing materials, 3) examine low cost sampling test methodologies and approaches that can help consumers verify the model predicted risk, 4) evaluate the costs and benefits of potential interventions, and 5) help restore trust and the water utilities role as an honest broker. Three in-depth case studies will be executed to gather data to inform the quantitative models and the consumer-centric bottom-up framework, which represent extremes of responsibility currently placed on consumers including: 1) private well owners who have 100% responsibility for controlling water lead risks, 2) State of MI residents served by public water supplies who will be protected by the most rigorous lead and copper rule in the nation effective 2018, and 3) residents of small rural potable systems whose are supposedly protected by the existing LCR but who live in circumstances that historically have made compliance difficult to achieve. These case studies will demonstrate that the level of responsibility that is placed on the consumer, ultimately determine the framework and quantitative models that they will need to follow, in order to appropriately share their responsibility.

Date: 09/01/16 - 8/31/21
Amount: $15,500.00
Funding Agencies: US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The goal of the project is to develop a center to support Research, Outreach, and Code Development, which will lead to vital improvements in water resources (WR) software for modeling sustainable systems. Building long-term financial and technical foundations requires that sustainability of effort guides our thinking. The Center must be consistent with EPA’s imperatives and interests, but equally important is a sound plan for income, investment, and delivery ensuring a strong enterprise that survives past the initial public funding. Our team builds on proven models of success for a sustainable Center that will be a force in WR software by developing a community who will have sense of ownership and engagement. The Center will be a beneficial partner to industry as well as meeting the needs of EPA and the WR community. The long-term financial stability of our proposed Center will make it a preferred collaborator and software hub for both new and experienced engineers and scientists. The Center will coordinate the three critical and integrated components (Research, Support and Outreach, Code Development). We will deliver specific contributions in each area that provide immediate and continuing outcomes. Our Primary Objectives are directly responsive to the RFP and our Enabling Objectives provide immediately useful outcomes in support of the Primary Objectives. The objectives components include Novel Research, providing a modularized approach for model codes, providing application programming interfaces (APIs) for extensions, and building crowd-sourced model development. Components addressing Community Support and Outreach include a novel crowd-sourced approach to code infrastructure, along with conferences, a committee system, training classes, an electronic open-access journal, and small grants for outside code development. Model and Code Development components include maintenance and archiving of legacy codes for validation, development of new modularized codes, and creation of “how to” guides for future models.

Date: 08/29/17 - 12/31/18
Amount: $47,995.00
Funding Agencies: Spring Point Partners LLC

The EPA lead and copper rule shares responsibility for reducing water lead hazards between water utilities and consumers. The first incarnation of this rule appropriately emphasized utility-centric frameworks with corrosion control, pipe replacement in some circumstances and public education. Over-confidence in the effectiveness of corrosion control and pressures on utilities and regulators to cut corners to support the utility centric framework have resulted in several water crisis in which consumers were falsely informed that their water is safe to drink when it was not. Revelations from the Flint water crisis and its aftermath has undermined consumer trust in government at all levels, the U.S. EPA, water utilities, and potable water quality, in general. The obvious failure of the utility-centric model has caused many consumers to abandon potable water for cooking and drinking, which has serious financial impacts on consumers, negative implications for environmental and fiscal sustainability of cities, and has fueled environmental justice concerns in Flint and elsewhere. This research proposes to develop a model to assist citizens in identifying their risk of lead in water. Research goals are to develop quantitative models and resources that help consumers predict their relative risk for elevated lead in water as a function of their water supply, neighborhood and existing plumbing materials. Two in-depth case studies will be executed to gather data to inform the quantitative models, which represent extremes of responsibility currently placed on consumers including: 1) private well owners who have 100% responsibility for controlling water lead risks, 2) State of MI residents served by public water supplies who will be protected by the most rigorous lead and copper rule in the nation effective 2018.

Date: 09/01/12 - 8/31/18
Amount: $890,576.00
Funding Agencies: National Science Foundation (NSF)

The main objective of the proposed research is to understand, identify and quantify uncertainties related to the freshwater sustainability under near-term climate change and population growth by incorporating adaptive responses, feedbacks as well as the needs of hydro-ecological systems and human-environmental systems through a cross-regional synthesis. The specific tasks associated with this objective are: 1) Reduce the uncertainty in targeted hydro-ecological variables under near-term climate change by combining projections from multiple GCMs (from AR5), regional climate models (from NAARCAP) and hydrological models (VIC, SWAT and MODFLOW) 2) Ingest the hindcasts and future projections (i.e., time series) of the targeted variables in reservoir models, groundwater models and ecological models to quantify the resilience and vulnerability of water infrastructure systems and ecological systems over the target basins 3) Identify key policy interventions, supply augmentation and demand reduction measures that will ensure freshwater sustainability under projected population growth and climate change 4) Incorporate the identified consumer feedbacks and societal adaptations with the water infrastructure models through an agent-based model 5) Perform an integrative cross-regional analyses to identify critical tipping points and feedback mechanisms that will reduce the uncertainty in freshwater sustainability under near-term climate change and population growth

Date: 03/24/15 - 12/31/15
Amount: $48,951.00
Funding Agencies: Laboratory for Analytic Sciences

Classical game theory is problematic in practice---behavioral economists have shown that human beings do not use the minimax principle when making strategic decisions. Instead, human beings are boundedly rational, in many ways: we do not perform complex mental calculations, we satisfice, we use heuristics, we overestimate rare threats and underestimate common ones, we are biased in favor of the outcomes we seek, and are otherwise flawed in many well-documented ways. To replace game theory, some researchers are exploring Adversarial Risk Analysis (ARA), in which the decision-maker builds a model for the strategic thinking of her opponent, and then takes the action that maximizes her expected utility. The decision-maker, usually a Bayesian, places personal or empirical probabilities on all these unknowns, and then makes the choice that has the largest expected payoff. Although potentially complex in practice, in theory ARA is a straightforward application of decision analysis. Our proposal focuses upon defense of critical network infrastructure, and specifically upon a city water supply system. However, there are many other applications that involve networks, such as road systems, air traffic, cybersecurity, and supply chains. Methodological progress on the water supply system problem can be transferred, to a significant degree, to those other applications, although the kinds of attacks, the magnitude of the consequences, and the costs of countermeasures will surely change. This research will build a realistic ARA-ABM model for both radicalization of opponents and strategic investment in defense. We will develop an agent-based model (ABM) that will enable application of adversarial risk analysis to decision-making in the context of protecting a network, such as a road or communications network, or a civic water supply system. Subsequently, an emulator will be used to allow statistical inference on the ABM.

Date: 01/01/15 - 12/31/15
Amount: $15,000.00
Funding Agencies: NCSU Research and Innovation Seed Funding Program

NC State has significant strengths in water resources research, including the human dimension, across multiple colleges (e.g., CNR, CALS, CHASS, COS, Design and Engineering). Yet, there in not a forum for sustained interaction among faculty that facilitates understanding of the rich set of interdisciplinary perspectives on campus and fosters new collaborative opportunities. We envision providing this forum through a series of integrative activities including a brownbag seminar series, a graduate student two-day workshop, and a “Water Summit” conference. Each activity will be designed to deepen cross-disciplinary understanding and work toward the goal of assembling multidisciplinary teams that compete successfully for new funding opportunities. Outcomes will include the participants identifying new cross-discipline research collaborations; identification of curricular opportunities related to water resources; and developing a sustainability plan for the network’s continuance.


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