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EPA Tool Helps Chicago Account for and Visualize Urban Water Flows

Urban water systems are necessarily complex. Delivering drinking water and treating sewage for millions of people, in addition to managing stormwater across hundreds of square miles, requires an extensive network of pipes, pumps, and treatment facilities. The buried and often hidden nature of this infrastructure adds to its complexity. This is a problem for municipalities seeking to manage water in more integrated and sustainable ways. New Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) software can help planning agencies and water utilities better understand the flows of water into, within, and out of their cities.

In an article published in Open Water Journal, EPA researchers explain how the CityWaterBalance software package can automate data gathering and synthesis for many water flows — precipitation, stream flows, water usage, etc. — freeing up city water managers’ time for deeper insight and planning.

EPA scientist and lead researcher, Dr. Laura Erban, believes that as more and more water data is shared online, tools like this will make it easier to account for unmeasured flows and uncertainties in urban water systems.

Read the EPA newsletter Science Matters story to learn more.