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The Water Environment

Ensuring a sustainable water environment for people and natural ecosystems requires the development of well-informed environmental policies and well-designed systems. To achieve this goal, we employ a holistic approach that draws on inputs from a wide variety of disciplines.

This research field includes the departmental programs in Environmental Fluid Mechanics and Hydrology, and Environmental Engineering and Science.

Our faculty and post-doctoral researchers collaborate with colleagues in Stanford’s schools of Engineering, Earth Science, Medicine, Business and the Humanities and Sciences and with academics around the world, including scholars and engineers in China, Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, Tanzania, Haiti, Chile, Denmark, Norway, France and Australia.

Effective solutions, new approaches

The water environment includes coastal zones, rivers, lakes, estuaries, groundwater, soil water and even the atmosphere as part of the hydrologic cycle. It is now clear that the management of the water environment for sustainable human benefit requires the development of environmental policies promoting ecosystem health and human safety, with accordant management and operation of facilities and systems.

Extending traditional boundaries

Traditionally, civil and environmental engineers have focused on studying parts of the system or designing specific components of an engineered system, such as studying the dilution of effluent achieved through an ocean outfall in order to design an appropriate diffuser.

Our attention now extends beyond the performance of individual components to the performance of whole systems and the interaction of different systems with each other — for example, the influence of large water project operations on estuarine and coastal fisheries.

Developing knowledge tools

Given the complex problems facing the planet and the need for efficient and cost-effective strategies, we are focusing our efforts on the scientific, engineering, economic, social and political aspects in an integrated and comprehensive way. We are leveraging our strengths in building multidisciplinary teams that may include, for example, experts in social sciences, biology or fisheries.

Within major research thrusts in areas such as water supply and treatment, coastal-zone problems and groundwater we are emphasizing the development of comprehensive analytical, numerical and observational tools that enable us to characterize the physical, chemical and microbial environment as well as to translate this knowledge into design principles and management policies.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Since Professor Jeffrey Koseff gave his first Classes Without Quizzes lecture in 1999 at Stanford Reunion Homecoming, he has addressed alumni audiences near and far – on the Farm, in cities across the nation and in countries around the world.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Since Professor Jeffrey Koseff gave his first Classes Without Quizzes lecture in 1999 at Stanford Reunion Homecoming, he has addressed alumni audiences near and far – on the Farm, in cities across the nation and in countries around the world.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Millions of years ago, even before the continents had settled into place, jellyfish were already swimming the oceans with the same pulsing motions we observe today.

Now through clever experiments and insightful math, an interdisciplinary research team has revealed a startling truth about how jellyfish and lampreys, another ancient species that undulate like eels, move through the water with unmatched efficiency.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Down the drain. It's a phrase synonymous with lost opportunities. In semiarid regions, opportunity for improved water supply and security literally goes down the drain every time episodic rainstorms pass through.

Professor John Dabiri
Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering and of Mechanical Engineering
Phone: 
(650) 721-5311
Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

As the world's population grows, so does the demand for – and threat to – the planet's freshwater supply. Stanford researchers are developing a range of promising solutions to freshwater challenges around the globe.

Monterey Bay is often smooth as a mill pond, but this surface tranquility cloaks a dynamic environment where physical oceanography and marine biology intersect in fascinating ways. Teasing out the individual forces and their effects is challenging, but Stanford Civil and Environmental Engineering Department Chair Stephen Monismith and his team have made impressive headway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In many of the world’s overcrowded urban slums, residents must choose between open defecation, crowded public toilets or expensive private pit latrines that can’t be emptied safely. A Stanford team working on a sustainable solution recently won a $15,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the opportunity to compete for up to $75,000.

New Stanford research shows that bivalves can cleanse streams, rivers and lakes of potentially harmful chemicals that treatment plants can't fully remove.

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