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Center for Water Resources and Environmental Research (International Center for Environmental Resources and Development)

Professor Reza M. Khanbilvardi, Director • Office: Steinman 107 • Tel: 212-650-8200

General Information

The Center for Water Resources and Environmental Research (CWRER) coordinates the resources of the College’s world-class engineering and science faculty as well as those at other CUNY campuses and professional communities to address a broad array of environmental problems.

CWRER is tackling the diverse problems of water resources and environmental issues with broad approaches beginning with research on the sources of natural hazards, pollution movement, surface water and groundwater cleanup, wetland preservation, reservoir protection, environmental remote sensing, hydraulics and hydrology of natural flow systems, non-point source pollution, preservation of ecology, and related topics. Included are both technical and social/political issues arising from these problems.

The Center’s objectives are:

To conduct multi-disciplinary research on protection of the environment and minimization of pollution hazards to water resources, hydrological and ecological systems;

  • To develop and demonstrate new technologies for the treatment and disposal of natural water supplies and waste water;

  • To develop robust remote sensing to manage and protect our nation’s national resources;

  • To cooperate on a global scale to protect the precious resources that sustain human life;

  • To educate and train personnel for management, supervision and operation of environmental and water resources management systems;

  • To develop and execute training programs in corporate and community communications, marketing and international business and financial management.

CWRER comprises two divisions:

Water Resources and Environmental Research

In addition to water resources and environmental research, this division focuses on air and water pollution crisis management, remote sensing and global change impact, environmental technology and research, and education and training programs within economic, political and social contexts.

The division also offers educational course work in water resources, environmental engineering and ecology for career development, operator training and public information.

Remote Sensing Science and Technology

A program which provides scholarships to recruit and educate students from underrepresented minorities for professional opportunities within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and to conduct research consistent with NOAA’s mission: environmental assessment; prediction; and stewardship. A multi-institutional center (NOAA-CREST) led by The City University of New York (CUNY), including The City College, Lehman College, the CUNY Graduate Center and Bronx Community College, in collaboration with Hampton University in Virginia, the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, Bowie State University in Maryland and Columbia University.

CWRER activities cover the following areas:

Groundwater Problems

Pore-scale and field-scale modeling of contaminant transport in unsaturated and saturated soils

Experimental studies for parameter estimation in porous media

Development of technology for contaminant detection and monitoring in groundwater systems

Waste Treatment Problems

Treatment and disposal of municipal and industrial wastewater and solid waste

Alternative disinfection in wastewater treatment

Surface Water Problems

Application of advanced technology, such as Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing, for hydrological evaluation of watersheds

Development of mathematical models for prediction and evaluation of non-point source pollution

Development of alternatives for proper water resources planning and management

Effect of climate changes on hydraulics and hydrology of water resources

Environmental Remote Sensing

Assessment of regional air quality

Monitoring diverse conditions of coastal and inland waters

Improve climate and environmental observation to predict changes in the Earth’s environment

Land and Coastal Problems

Development of technology for beach protection

Mathematical modeling for evaluation and protection of tidal wetlands

Theoretical and experimental studies of beach erosion

Studies of soil erosion and its control

Land loss processes, such as landslides: study and control

Water Treatment Problems

Chemistry of ozonation and chloramination in combined application

Application of aeration processes for the removal of volatile organics

Removal of lead

Ecological and Health Problems

New methods and technologies of detecting contaminates in the air

Job-related solid particles in the air and their health importance

Studying the fate of radioactive wastes

Pollution ecology of water bodies

Relationship between aquaculture and environment

Geographically, the Center is not only active in the USA, but foreign countries as well. Agreements on multi-national cooperation have been reached with some former republics of the USSR and Macedonia.

Facilities Available for the Center

Hydraulics Laboratory

Soil Mechanics Laboratory

Environmental Engineering Laboratory

Experimental Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics Laboratory

Weather Station

Photonics Engineering Laboratories

Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory

Biology Department Facilities:

Laboratory for Invertebrate Ecology

Laboratory for Microbial Ecology

Laboratory for Genetics of Phytoplankton

Laboratory for Wetland Ecology

Biomathematical Laboratory

Electron Microscope Laboratory

Radiobiology Laboratory

Biological Media and Sterilization Center

Biosolid Mechanics Laboratory

Computing Facilities

New Facilities

Recently three major facilities have been implemented: (a) a state-of-the-art wave tank with fully automated 2-D Laser Doppler Anemometer and Particle Image Velocimetry devices, (b) a mobile laboratory equipped with laser and electronic sensors for field monitoring and pollution detection in natural water bodies, and (c) Geographical Information Science (GIS) laboratory, funded by NASA, with a multimedia classroom facility and computational facilities for remote sensing and GIS applications. These two last additions are believed to be the only ones in the Northeast.

Funding Agencies

Below is a list of some agencies providing funding for the projects carried out by faculty members of the CWRER:

US Department of Agriculture

US Agency for International Development

US Department of Defense

US Department of Transportation

US Army Corps of Engineers

National Science Foundation




New York City Department of Environmental Protection

New York City Department of Sanitation

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

New York State Institute for Solid Waste Combustion

Suffolk County Department of Public Works

Civilian Research and Development Corporation

Sloan Foundation