Subproject 2. Environmental Informatics 

Team Lead:
Dr. Hua Zhang, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering 
(361) 825-2467

With a focus on the hydrologic and environmental aspects of coastal resilience, subproject 2 integrates research and education in civil engineering and geographic information systems. Integration of hydrology and remote sensing will prepare the students as qualified hydrologist and civil engineers with skills in state-of-the-art observation, simulation, and data analysis technologies. Subproject 2 aims to answer: (i) What are the controls on the interactions between surface water, groundwater, and pipe flow in urban watersheds? (ii) What are the effects of the surface-subsurface hydrologic connectivity on coastal flood vulnerability and environmental quality? (iii) How does the understanding of these mechanisms inform management strategies for enhancing the management of water resources and the resilience of water infrastructure?

This subproject will use state-of-the-art surface water-groundwater simulations, coupled with remote sensing methods, to link urbanization processes to hydrologic, hydraulic, and water quality processes in a spatially explicit and predictive manner. The study area includes three to five watersheds along the Texas Gulf Coast to demonstrate contrasting levels of land development, population density, hydroclimatic conditions, and water quality trends. Research thrusts include: (i) fusion of the multi-sensor remote-sensing data to characterize the long-term trajectory of urbanization; (ii) development of an integrated urban hydrologic-hydraulic modeling system to analyze the linkage between hydrologic processes and water infrastructure; and (iii) evaluation of the water infrastructure resilience under different environmental and management scenarios.

The research in this subproject will lead to a better understanding of the interlinked hydrologic, hydraulic, and water quality processes across surface and subsurface domains in coastal urban watersheds, addressing fundamental knowledge gaps in the urban water cycle and providing scientific support to improve the management strategies of water resources and water infrastructure in a changing environment.

To request more information on this Sub-Project, click here.