Research Focus Areas



In order to address Utah's critical water issues, iUTAH has established a statewide network of researchers to explore how variables such as population growth, climate change, and land use affect water sustainability. iUTAH's three research areas focus on:


  • Monitoring the relationship between water and ecosystems;
  • Assessing water use behaviors and decisions, and how these influence the urban environment; and
  • Creating innovative computer models that describe how water demand, infrastructure, and eco-hydrology intersect to affect sustainability.

iUTAH Experimental Watersheds:



iUTAH researchers are collecting climate and water data in three targeted watersheds in Utah to measure aspects of the water cycle in the atmosphere, on land, and in streams along the Wasatch Front.


What is a watershed?

A watershed is an area of land where all the water beneath it, or draining from it, converges in the same place. For example, any surface water resulting from rain or melting snow exits the basin and joins another body of water. Watersheds have also been referred to as drainage basins and catchments. iUTAH research focuses on the above three principal watersheds.



March 11, 2016

Winning the water war starts with winning the battle on data

iUTAH researcher and team lead Jeff Horsburgh was recently featured by the online journal Here’s an excerpt:   The water meter buried in your front yard isn't exactly the most cutting-edge piece of technology. While they are Read More...



January 26, 2016

Where Does the Water From Snow Actually Go?

Jordan Maxwell, PhD student at Brigham Young University Each winter, as the snow falls across Utah, hope grows that the accumulating snowpack will ease our drought conditions, and supply the state with water throughout the year. While snowfall can Read More...



August 14, 2015

Utahns Voice their Ideas about Water

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of water?   Scientists tend to think of issues as problems – water scarcity, declining water quality, and so on. But how do community members in Utah think about water? The Utah Read More...



July 27, 2015

Insights into the urban water dynamics of Utah

Public water supply systems are the life-blood of urban areas. How we use urban water systems affects more than human health and well-being. Our water use can alter a city’s energy balance, including how much solar energy is absorbed as heat or Read More...



June 4, 2015

New Computer Software Helps Scientists See How Everything in Nature is Connected

Caleb Buahin, Utah State University, Research Assistant Water touches everything. Farms, households, businesses, and nature all depend on water – and each of these also affects how water reaches the other entities that depend on it. As society Read More...



April 29, 2015

How Thirsty are the Trees we Plant in our own Front Yards?

Trees provide welcome shade and can reduce the need to water lawns in the hot Utah summer. But trees also need water themselves. Understanding how mature urban trees use water can help give municipal land and water managers a better idea of how to Read More...



March 30, 2015

How Can City Planners Contribute to Urban Water Conservation?

Urban populations across the U.S. are growing, and planning for urban water supplies is critical to ensure that this most critical of resources is available to support future populations.  While urbanization poses a multitude of challenges for Read More...



February 1, 2015

Where is the Nitrogen in Utah's Streams Coming From?

Air pollution that is in rain, snow, and dry particles can affect the biology and quality of stream ecosystems. iUTAH Postdoctoral researcher, Dr. Steven Hall’s work confirms that both urban and mountain snow in Northern Utah contains the same Read More...



January 8, 2015

Breakthroughs in Aquatic Microbiology Advance iUTAH's Research

Streams are teeming with many different kinds of bacteria, but until recently the technology has not existed to let scientists understand how the species composition of microbial communities is linked to water quality. Researcher Zachary Aanderud and his Read More...