Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Daniel H. Yeh, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James R. Mihelcic, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rafael Perez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Trent Green, M.Arch.U.D.

Committee Member

Niki Frantzeskaki, Ph.D.


adaptation, chloride, drought, IUWM, salinity, sea level rise, urban water cycle


Reliability of water supply in the urban setting has become essential for communities to function and thrive. It is needed for more than mere human consumption and well-being. Although modern cities have water treatment and distribution systems, pressures from urbanization, population growth and the anticipated pressures of climate change are affecting the quality of water supply and the reliability of treatment and distribution systems. There is therefore an urgent need to take appropriate measures to improve the resilience of water supply systems before the impacts are irreversible.

Improving the resilience of water supply systems can be a challenge. In the United States, there is increased awareness of aging, overtaxed and under designed water infrastructure. To date, resilience planning has been principally focused on improving preparedness and the restoration of critical services in communities following extreme events, such as hurricanes, earthquakes or terrorism, and less so on the slow-moving consequences of climate change, perceived as a less urgent threat. All these issues – increased pressure of urbanization and population growth, deteriorating infrastructure, together with the consequences the impacts of climate change may have on water systems and the apathetic view of the need for action – are what make the development of a solution difficult.

This research proposes Integrated Urban Water Management as a new water management paradigm as one that can withstand contemporary issues as well as future climate threats, while increasing water supply resilience for communities. This research (1) focuses on analyzing the urban water cycle for potential vulnerabilities, (2) seeks to understand the benefits and challenges of integrating water infrastructure, (3) tests the level of sustainability in an IUWM system, (4) identifies critical thresholds ‘slow-moving’ climate change on water supply infrastructure, (5) performs a system-wide water and salt balance and (6) tests the system for resilience to salt water intrusion.

Since coastal communities are subject to higher population densities, demands on resources, and exposed to greater threats than inland communities, this project utilizes a coastal community with integrated water infrastructure as a basis to better understand the benefits as well as the potential challenges of the proposed future paradigm (IUWM).

The results of this research show that IUWM offers many options for sustainable practices as well as adaptability, a key aspect of resilience. The conclusions drawn from the scoping study, case study and modeling of water and salt flows within the urban water cycle offer relevant and transferable lessons for water management in coastal cities while they approach uncertain and alternative climate futures.