Healthy Land & Water Systems

Pursuing integrated research and modeling to ensure the current and future sustainability of land and water systems and the ecosystems and communities that depend on these systems

Healthy Land & Water Systems

  • Land and water systems interact in many ways. Land-based activities such as agriculture and forestry depend upon water. Water quality depends on land use and management. We investigate how urbanization, climate change, and industrial and agricultural land uses impact water systems and the implications for human health and ecosystem services. We examine how individuals and communities make decisions about land and water use and management, the use of green and gray infrastructure, and planning and policies aimed at improving water quality and sustainable land patterns.

Surface-Groundwater Interactions

Surface water-groundwater exchange impacts ecosystem health by influencing the movement of nutrients, contaminants, and heat in watersheds. Through computer modeling of surface-groundwater exchange, Ohio State researchers are determining the influence of lakebed sediments on surface water quality and algal toxins and how the flow of water mediates geologic and ecologic processes near the earth’s surface. 

Urban Wastewater Management

Ohio State worked with the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities to analyze capital investment opportunities, and identified potential improvements in bioenergy and organic waste reuse that could save several million dollars annually in operating costs.

International Initiatives

SRE is funding pilot programs to address food-energy-water interdependencies in developing nations; an example is Sustainable Tanzania, a long-term, strategic and coordinated response to locally-identified food, energy, water, and health challenges.


SRE faculty are engaged with government organizations at a local, state, and national level to enable science-based approaches to managing the food-energy-water nexus. These engagements include the City of Columbus Department of Public Utilities, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Science Foundation.