Research Priority Program
The Research Priority Program is the cornerstone of WRF's research efforts. This competitive program enables WRF to strategically address broadly relevant water sector issues, challenges, and opportunities. Sixty percent of WRF’s annual research budget is allocated to this program.
The Research Priority Program is comprised of Research Areas that are approved by WRF's Board of Directors. Each area has a specific objective, timeline, and research roadmap of specific projects to meet the objective.
Each Research Area is supported by an Advisory Committee made up of experts and practitioners from utilities, consulting, academia and government. This Committee supports the development and assessment of the research roadmap for each Research Area.
The Research Priority Program is governed by a Board-appointed Research Advisory Council (RAC) that meets twice per year. In the spring, the RAC reviews and approves projects that stem from the Research Area roadmaps. The RAC meets again in the fall to evaluate the Research Areas collectively to ensure they are on track to meet their objectives as well as to recommend new Research Areas.
The RAC uses the following criteria for evaluating Research Areas (RAs) (these are not the criteria used for evaluating individual projects/proposals):
- Importance: Is this an important topic for WRF subscribers and the water community?
- Broad Relevance: Does the RA address an issue of regional or national significance to WRF subscribers and the water sector?
- Feasibility: Is (multi-year, multi-project) research plan sufficiently developed to achieve intended objectives for current RAs? For new RAs, is the objective statement aimed towards a successful outcome? Is it feasible for WRF to make worthwhile progress on the RA? Is it likely that outcomes from this RA can be readily applied to benefit the water sector?
- Suitability: Is WRF the right organization to conduct the work? Is this research consistent with WRF’s mission and vision? Would WRF stakeholders expect WRF to undertake research to advance knowledge on this topic?
Announcements and solicitations for upcoming Requests for Proposal (RFP) can be found on our website or in our newsletters.
The Research Priority Program is a competitive program in which projects are procured using an RFP process.
Visit the foundation's Proposal Guidelines page to access supporting documentation for the Research Priority Program RFPs.
The following projects have been funded by our Research Priority Program.
- Urban Stormwater BMP Database Update
- Understanding the Mechanisms of Chlorine and Chloramine Impact on Opportunistic Pathogens in Distribution Systems
- Using Phosphate-Based Corrosion Inhibitors and Sequestrants to Meet Multiple Water Treatment Objectives
- Utility Field Guide for Developing a Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxin Monitoring Program
- Development of Innovative Predictive Control Strategies for Nutrient Removal
- Technologies and Approaches to Minimize Brominated and Iodinated DBPs in Distribution Systems
- Establishing Seasonal Targets for Receiving Waters: Rethinking Wet Weather versus Dry Weather Expectations
- PFAS One Water Risk Communication Messaging for Water Sector Professionals
- Demonstration of Innovation to Improve Pathogen Removal, Validation, and/or Monitoring in Carbon Based Advanced Treatment (CBAT) for Potable Reuse
- Advancement of Densification to Implement and Achieve More Efficient BNR Processes: Granule Generation, Retention and Management
- Holistic Wet Weather Management through Adaptive Volume and Pollutant Source Control at a Community Scale: Finding the Sweet Spot
- The Impact of Pre-Chlorination and GAC Treatment on DBP Formation and Overall Toxicity in Drinking Water
- Linking Nutrient Reductions to Receiving Water Responses
- Assessing Water Quality Monitoring Needs, Tools, Gaps, and Opportunities for Potable Water Reuse
- Assessment of Vulnerability of Source Waters to Toxic Cyanobacterial Outbreaks
- Guidance for Using Pipe Loops to Inform Lead and Copper Corrosion Control Treatment Decisions
- Investigation of Alternative Management Strategies to Prevent PFAS from Entering Drinking Water Supplies and Wastewater
- Advancing Low Energy Biological Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal
- Holistic and Innovative Approaches for Flood Mitigation Planning and Modeling under Extreme Wet Weather Events and Climate Impacts
- Impact of a Haloacetic Acid MCL Revision on DBP Exposure and Health Risk Reduction
- Case Studies on Water Sector Interdependencies
- Implementation of Innovative Biological Nutrient Removal Processes through Improvement of Control Systems and Online Analytical Measurement Reliability and Accuracy
- Defining Exposures of Microplastics/Fibers (MPs) in Treated Waters and Wastewaters: Occurrence, Monitoring, and Management Strategies
- Developing a Framework for Quantifying Energy Optimization Reporting
- Advancing Benefits and Co-Benefits Quantification and Monetization for Green Stormwater Infrastructure: An Interactive Guidebook for Comparison Case Studies
- Occurrence of PFAS Compounds in US Wastewater Treatment Plants
- Analysis of Corrosion Control Treatment for Lead and Copper Control
- Demonstrating the Effectiveness of Flushing for Reducing the Levels of Legionella in Service Lines and Premise Plumbing
- Assessing the Microbial Risks and Potential Impacts from Stormwater Collection and Uses to Establish Best Management Practices
- Impact of Bromate Control on Ozone Oxidation and Disinfection and Downstream Treatment In Potable Reuse
- Technical Brief: Compounds of Current and Future Interest and Implications for One Water
- Evaluation of Existing Source Separated Organic Feedstock Pre-Treatment and Management Practices
- 2019 Roadmap Workshop on Prioritizing Permitting and Linkages Research in Water Quality
- Definition of Data-driven Utility - How to be Digital Utility and the Framework for an Intelligent Water System
- Decentralized Reuse and Treatment Systems: Case Studies of Successful Implementation
Projects funded before the integration between the Water Research Foundation and The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation were done so as part of the Focus Area and Solicited Research programs, respectively. Projects funded post-integration, were done so as part of the Research Priority Program.
Active Research Areas
- Advancing System-Level Resilience for Water Infrastructure
- Compounds of Current and Future Interest and Implications for One Water
- Cyanobacterial Blooms and Cyanotoxins: Monitoring, Control, and Communication Strategies
- Emerging Disinfection Byproducts
- Energy Production and Efficiency
- Intelligent Water Systems
- Lead and Copper Management
- Linkages in Receiving Water Quality
- Management, Analysis, Removal, Fate and Transport of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Water
- Microplastics in Water: Occurrence, Removal, Fate, and Transport in Water Treatment
- Nutrients Treatment: Intensification, Reliability, and Efficiency
- Optimizing Carbon-based Advanced Treatment for Potable Reuse
- Source Separated Organic Feedstock Pre-Treatment and Management Practices
- Stormwater and Flood Management: Advancing a Holistic Approach to Wet Weather Flow and Water Quality Management
- Water Reuse and Beyond: Water Quality Monitoring Methods, Data, and Interpretation
- Waterborne Pathogens in Distribution and Premise Plumbing Systems
Completed Research Areas
- Biofiltration: Defining Benefits and Developing Utility Guidance
- Carcinogenic VOCs Contaminant Group: Filling Critical Knowledge Gaps to Inform Meaningful Regulation
- Contaminants of Emerging Concern and Risk Communication: Developing Core Messages and Engaging Critical Stakeholders
- Developing Tools and Strategies for Improved Water Utility Energy Efficiency and Integrated Water-Energy Planning
- Holistic Strategies for Managing Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in Water
- Hexavalent Chromium: Filling Critical Knowledge Gaps to Inform Effective Rulemaking
- Integrated Water Management and Planning for Future Water Supplies
- NDMA and Other Nitrosamines: Precursor Control, Treatment Practices and Distribution System Operations to Achieve Regulatory Compliance
- Water Demand: Improving the Effectiveness of Forecasts and Management
- Water Utility Finances: Best Practies for Setting Rates, Financing Capital Improvements and Achieving Stakeholder Support
- Water Utility Infrastructure: Applying Risk Management Principles and Innovative Technologies to Effectively Manage Deteriorating Infrastructure
Please contact John Albert, Chief Research Officer, with questions about the Research Priority Program.