CWSS Research Objectives

The Center for Water Supply Studies is actively involved in conducting research relevant to addressing water supply issues in the Coastal Bend region of South Texas.

The Center for Water Supply Studies research is focused on:

  • Investigating barrier island stratigraphy, aquifer dynamics, and freshwater/saltwater interactions
  • Developing techniques for evaluating water contamination using proxies
  • Investigating sources of bacteria loading in surface water runoff and in ground water aquifers
  • Evaluating new water treatment technologies
  • Conducting geophysical studies to evaluate the stratigraphic and hydrogeological properties of aquifers


CWSS Research Projects (including graduate and undergraduate students)

  • understanding groundwater contributions to water quality and habitat degradation in coastal embayments.
  • Using radionuclides such as Radon (Rn) and Radium (Ra), elemental and stable isotope geochemistry, temperature, and electrical resistivity as indicators of groundwater discharge.
  • Understanding the role of groundwater nutrients in system-wide nutrient budgets, and hypoxia and phytoplankton (red & brown tide) trends in relation to groundwater flow and nutrient discharge.
  • Implications of climatic and anthropogenic change on decreased freshwater inflows to coastal embayments and increased salinities in surface water and groundwater in coastal areas.
  • Investigation of methane sources in groundwater active horizontal drilling areas and prediction of injected water quality changes under aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) using stable isotopes and modeling techniques.
  • Magnetotelluric and conductivity imaging of the geometry of barrier island freshwater aquifers
  • Development of forward modeling algorithms for modeling vertical electrical soundings of magnetotelluric and conductivity geophysical data
  • Development of software to extract NEXRAD rainfall data for use in watershed models
  • Investigation of groundwater/surface water interaction in Oso Creek to track bacteria sources
  • Study of the use of fluorescent whitening agents as tracers in the investigation of domestic sewage contamination of surface waters
  • Investigation of the geometry of the freshwater/saltwater interface on barrier islands
  • Examination of the correlation of rainfall recharge with spring flow at Comal Springs
  • Development of a variable density flow model of freshwater lens dynamics on Padre Island to constrain the flux of nitrogen into the coastal zone of the Gulf of Mexico