Network Focus Areas

The North Central Region Water Network is a network of land-grant universities and our partners, working together to ensure the conservation, protection and restoration of water resources for individuals, communities, and the ecosystems on which we all depend. We collaborate across states, disciplines, and sectors, on water-related outreach, education, and research, leveraging the investment of participating institutions. We work primarily in the Great Plains, Great Rivers, and Great Lakes Regions of the United States.

Collectively, we are working to catalyze and implement multistate water outreach and research programs and projects focused on four critical water challenges of our time: sediment and nutrient reduction, drinking water supply and safety; flooding, drought, and water supply; and climate resilience and adaptation.

More information on each of these areas is below.

Flooding, Drought and Water Supply
Flooding, drought, and insufficient water supply impact many communities in different ways. Whether you’re a producer or work with them, excess water or lack thereof can have a major impact on production and farm management. Communities that regularly experience drought or flooding also are affected by these extreme weather conditions. No matter who you are or where you come from, these events can create major issues.
Corn Under Water Stress
Sediment and Nutrient Reduction
Nitrogen and phosphorus are important plant nutrients. They are also byproducts of animal agriculture and municipal wastewater treatment. Excess amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus in water negatively impacts humans and the environment. Activities and resources associated with this priority issue support all aspects of nutrient and manure management that lead to the concurrent achievement of agricultural productivity and water quality goals.
farm field runoff
Drinking Water Supply and Safety
Drinking water is crucial to sustain life but the contamination of source water decreases water quality and leads to unsafe drinking water supplies. Understanding where drinking water comes from and what affects the quality of it can help protect it.
Climate Resilience and Adaptation
Changes in climate are having an impact on agriculture and water quality across the North Central Region. Climate variability creates shifts in crops, cropping seasons, and plant hardiness zones. Moreover, the management practices used to adapt to these changes greatly influence water quality and supply. As these changes affect different sectors and communities across the region in different ways climate education and outreach are critical.