Center for Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources

Mission Statement

The Center for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources at Tennessee Technological University was created in 1984 to mobilize an interdisciplinary professional staff to address the increasing demands on water resources in Tennessee, the surrounding region and the nation. This mission is accomplished through research, education and public service.

Goals and Objectives

  • To mold existing and expanding water resources expertise into an interactive unit, providing educational benefits to the citizens of the region.
  • To address the diverse problems associated with the growth of water use in the region through the Water Center's research and public service missions.
  • To provide technical assistance to federal, state and local government agencies and industries in addressing issues of water use and resource protection.
  • To attract well-known water resource professionals to a nationally recognized Center of Excellence in Tennessee.
  • To disseminate useful information regarding water resources.
  • To promote the expansion of industry in the region and the state by providing ser- vices related to water use, determination of available water supplies and wastewater disposal.


Researchers at the Center for the Management, Utilization and Protection of Water Resources (Water Center) at Tennessee Tech have historically delved into the complex issues affecting our most precious, finite, natural treasure: water. Throughout the history of the center, the water research performed by Water Center associates has investigated public health issues and threats to ecosystems that occur not only in Tennessee and the Southeast, but throughout the world.

The Water Center's commitment to protecting this life-sustaining resource ranges from isolation of water-borne disease; to development of analytical methods for limiting transmission of chemical and microbial threats to human, animal and aquatic life; to collection of data about endangered species that rely on aquatic environments for sur- vival. The center is further committed to safeguarding ground and surface waters from solid and hazardous waste contamination and educating the public about best environ- mental practices to protect water supplies.

Interdisciplinary Team Approach

The Water Center was created to organize interdisciplinary teams of professionals to investigate and seek obtainable solutions to environmental and water resource problems facing our state, nation and world. Core Water Center research faculty includes profes- sionals in chemistry, soil science, microbiology, fisheries biology and environmental engineering. The vast expertise of faculty from the on-campus U.S. Biological Service Fisheries Unit, the departments of biology, chemistry, agriculture, civil engineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and the College of Education is also drawn upon to form research teams. This ability to streamline formation of research teams enables faculty to respond competitively to requests for research funding proposals.
Water Center researchers delve into a broad range of interdisciplinary approaches to safe-guarding ground and surface water supplies.

Cooperation with State, Federal and Municipal Agencies

One of the Water Center's primary strengths is successfully combining facilities and services with state, federal and municipal agencies' resources to achieve common re- search objectives and reduce costs. Since the establishment of the Water Center in 1984, researchers have participated in numerous projects with state, federal and municipal agencies. Center researchers' historical involvement with multiyear biodiversity studies, fisheries research, wetlands projects and economic development using geographical information system (GIS) technology attests to the center's reputation for working coop- eratively against threats to our nation's watersheds.

These cooperative working relationships create new research and funding opportunities, and contribute to the center's stability while enabling the center to pursue its mission of service to the state and the region.

Student Involvement

Primary to the Water Center's and university's missions is the education of its students. Students from across the nation and numerous countries worldwide with undergraduate backgrounds in science, engineering and agriculture seek graduate opportunities through the Water Center. This hands-on research experience is in steady demand in the job market because of growing national and global concern over protection of our natural resources and the environment.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of its research, the Water Center attracts students and interns from nearly every college on campus. In its first 10 years of operation, the Water Center has provided employment opportunities and financial support to approxi- mately 670 graduate students and 510 undergraduate students.

By providing these valuable educational opportunities to students in both fundamental research and the applied sciences, the Water Center further serves the state and nation as these students graduate and bring their environmental expertise with them to their careers and communities.


In the Water Center's next decade of operation, cooperative research projects with mu- nicipal, state and federal agencies will continue, and collaborative relationships with industry to find innovative solutions to environmental problems will be actively sought.

Water Center researchers will also continue to pursue novel approaches for enhancing the habitat and abundance of fish and mussel species in the region while simultaneously protecting the long-term recreational attraction to the state. Development of innovative control methods to limit the transmission of chemical and microbial substances threaten- ing aquatic and human life will also continue.

There is no one resource more necessary to the preservation of our environment, the plant and animal life it supports, and quality of life - than water.