Research Fellow: Water Utility Analyst

Topic: Conducting analyses and building out existing models of sustainable water management practices in urban environments with high population growth, and communicating them to utility planners and other water stakeholders.

Background
Water scarcity coupled with increasing population growth, increasing water demand, and declining infrastructure systems pose a threat to both the people of Texas and the vital freshwater inflow needed to feed sensitive bays and estuaries along the Gulf Coast. In order to increase water use efficiency in urban areas and enhance conservation of limited freshwater resources, many stakeholders are now considering fundamental changes in water management, including transitioning to integrated urban water management (IUWM) approaches such as ‘One Water.’
Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE) is engaged in a multi-year project funded by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation with the goal of assessing how siloed municipal water agencies in the state of Texas can transition to an IUWM model in order to increase water use efficiency in urban environments, revitalize aging infrastructure, and preserve freshwater inflow to the major bays and estuaries along the Texas Gulf Coast. ISE’s work is
focused on developing decision-making frameworks and metrics that align with viable pathways to implement IUWM in Texas.

Duties and Responsibilities
The Research Fellow’s time will be devoted to the project funded by the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. This work will involve developing assessments of sustainable water management practices including:

  • Optimal One Water supply management as well as opportunities for reuse, distributed water treatment and low impact development,
  • Demand reduction opportunities, with a focus on end-uses
  • Assessment of new water utility business models and rate structures, and their robustness in an efficiency focused usage scenario.

Work will involve substantial engagement with a water utility partner, as well as the project funder and other stakeholders in the water community. The Fellow will be engaged in communicating the project team’s findings to a variety of audiences via powerpoint presentations and written papers. We seek a Fellow who is capable of and interested in being flexible, as the project work may emphasize different challenges at different times, including but not limited to system analysis and optimization, financial modeling, or demand modeling, based on the interests of utility stakeholders.

There may be opportunities for the Research Fellow to work in other areas of the ISE’s portfolio, including advancing cities’ goals to become carbon neutral and decarbonization of the electric grid, depending on the growth of these research areas.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Develop a framework that enables assessment of efficient water source management and delivery system optimization.
    Develop data analysis to identify optimal targets for water demand reduction.
  • Support financial analysis of a water utility under various supply pricing and demand reduction scenarios.
  • Produce, edit, and review technical reports, briefs, and presentations on research.
  • Build strong relationships with key practitioners and stakeholders in the water industry in Texas and beyond.
  • Support communications with a National Advisory Committee associated with this project, and with the funder.
  • Support the pursuit of new project opportunities relating to water management and water utility of the future.

Interested candidates should send a resume and letter of interest to Kevin Zheng, kevinz@bu.edu

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