Water is essential to all living systems, from the cells in our bodies to the hydrologic cycles that make Earth the blue and green planet that it is. Water is fundamental to human life and the ecosystems on which we depend. Though water covers 70% of the Earth, less than 2.5% is fresh water, and less than 1% is accessible fresh water, making understanding and wise use of this resource imperative. Water, in abundant quantities and high quality, is critical to agriculture, energy, industry, and every other aspect of human society.
Did You Know?
A group of institutions led by Penn State has received nearly $2.2 million for the first year of a planned four-year, $5 million project aimed at developing a model for engaging communities and stakeholders to ensure adequate supplies of good-quality water both for and from agriculture.
The impacts of population growth, development, and environmental changes put increasing stresses on water resources. Decisions about how to use water are increasingly challenging as global population approaches 8 billion and competition among uses reaches unprecedented levels. Further, a changing climate is fundamentally changing water cycles, with far-reaching consequences.
Penn State’s water scientists, researchers, and educators have led decades of high impact research, education, and service addressing the many dimensions of water, from basic to applied. Our researchers address four fundamental areas of research: