New facility will expand University of Alabama's water research efforts

·2 min read
The U.S. Geological Survey-Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility will be built on the north side of the University of Alabama campus near the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa.
The U.S. Geological Survey-Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility will be built on the north side of the University of Alabama campus near the Black Warrior River in Tuscaloosa.

Tuscaloosa will soon be home to a state-of-the-art science and engineering facility that will focus on the study of water.

The new Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility, a partnership between the University of Alabama and the U.S. Geological Survey, will be built on the north side of campus near the Black Warrior River.

" ... Our campus will serve as the epicenter for water research and operations in the United States" with the addition of the U.S. Geological Survey-Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility, said University of Alabama President Stuart R. Bell in a news release.

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He added that UA's partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey "will provide countless teaching, research and service opportunities for our students and faculty.”

Construction on the 95,000-square-foot, two-story facility is scheduled to begin in late 2022, with the opening set for 2023.

The $38.5 million facility will include a hydraulics lab, water quality labs, field testing facilities, environmental chambers, sensor innovation space, a warehouse, training labs, a network operations center and administrative offices.

The Tuscaloosa facility will replace the aging U.S. Geological Survey facilities at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

In the news release, UA says the Tuscaloosa campus was selected as the replacement site because of the opportunities it will provide to connect with other water-related research and development already conducted on campus, including the NOAA National Water Center.

UA System Chancellor Finis St. John credited U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby with playing an integral role in the process and helping to ensure that the university could expand its water research program at a time when global demand for water is rising.

U.S. Senator Richard Shelby visited the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019 at Indian Hills Country Club.  [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby visited the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019 at Indian Hills Country Club. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

“With the Alabama Water Institute, the Global Water Security Center, and now the USGS-HIF, the University of Alabama has cemented its position as the nation’s leader in this critical area,” St. John said.

Shelby said the new facility will reinforce the Alabama Water Institute’s mission of furthering the study of water as a weather-related threat, as a resource and for distribution.

"I look forward to the transformative discoveries that will come from this new partnership, as well as the economic benefit it will bring to Alabama,” the Tuscaloosa senator said.

Reach Ken Roberts at ken.roberts@tuscaloosanews.com.

This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: New facility will expand University of Alabama's water research efforts

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