Almost 1.1 billion people worldwide live without access to fresh water and 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation facilities, according to the National Science Foundation.

Ensuring the adequate supply and quality of water in light of burgeoning human needs and climate changNASA water20101015_fe is one of the most urgent challenges facing the world today, NSF scientists say.

To help meet the challenge, a research team led by Zachary Easton, a biological systems engineer, will integrate key climate, hydrologic, estuarine, and economic drivers at multiple scales to discern water management options for the Chesapeake Bay system, according to a National Science Foundation award abstract.

Climate change on water quality, water resources, and ecosystem function is an important, 21st century challenge, made all the more difficult to understand because of urban sprawl and agricultural intensification, according to the research team, which includes co-principal investigators Darrell Bosch, a professor of agriculture and applied economics, and David Sample, a biological systems engineer. With $360,000 in NSF support, the researchers will take an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to provide policy makers with robust and reliable information.