White Papers

What are White Papers?

As southwestern Pennsylvania continues to evolve from its industrial past to become a national leader in innovation and sustainability, it has encountered a complex set of water challenges that threaten the economy, ecology, and public health of the region. In this context, over the last year, the Heinz Endowments has funded the Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education, and Outreach at the University of Pittsburgh to hold a series of consensus-building meetings among regional academic scholars, community groups, governmental and non-governmental organizations. These meetings (one each on green infrastructure, water quality, and flooding) aim to identify key regional knowledge gaps and chart a collaborative research agenda to fill these gaps and enhance the region’s ability to strategically and creatively solve water problems. The white papers posted here summarize and synthesize the outcomes of those meetings, as well as provide some suggested paths forward.


Green Infrastructure for Storm Water Management: Knowledge Gaps and Approaches

In June 2019, the first report describing the research agenda arising from the November 20, 2018 meeting on Green Infrastructure was formally released. This report outlines several fundamental knowledge gaps in the region(i.e. no organized home for storage of information about how green infrastructure systems perform) and suggests methods to span these gaps with new collaborative research.

The Green Infrastructure for Storm Water Management White Paper addresses potential ways to fill gaps in knowledge in the planning, design, installation, monitoring, and maintenance of green infrastructure in Southwestern Pennsylvania. 


Water Quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania:  Knowledge Gaps and Approaches

In October 2019, the second report describing the research agenda on regional water quality arising from a January 28, 2019 meeting was formally released. This report outlines several fundamental knowledge gaps in the region(i.e. changing chemical waste, unexpected consequences of emerging chemicals, and the effects of "legacy" contamination) and suggests methods to span these gaps with new collaborative research.

The Water Quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania White Paper synthesizes gaps in assessment and awareness regarding regional water quality.


Flooding in Southwestern Pennsylvania: Knowledge Gaps and Approaches

In 2020, the third report describing the research agenda on regional flooding arising from a April 2, 2019 meeting will be formally released. This report outlines several fundamental knowledge gaps in the region and suggests methods to span these gaps with new collaborative research. The Water Quality in Southwestern Pennsylvania white paper will synthesizes gaps in assessment and awareness regarding regional water quality.