ASU's Future H2O is changing the narrative about water

from one of scarcity to one of abundance and creating opportunity for change at scale for regional, national and global water systems

Vision: abundant water to feed and power sustainable economies

The Earth is literally drenched in water. However, conversations about the resource often center around scarcity, vulnerability and risk. While it’s true that getting water to the right place at the right time with adequate quality can be a challenge, we still see a bright future.

ASU’s Future H2O seeks to change the narrative about water from scarcity to abundance. Our goal is to create opportunity for change at scale in regional, national and global water systems. We envision wiser design principles, new data and algorithms for better water governance and business outcomes, and scalable, nature-inspired technologies. In choosing this new path, we will become nimbler in the face of a changing climate and rise to the challenge of water security.

How do we get there? By calling on the creative capacity of the largest student body in the United States. By translating knowledge into action through innovative partnerships with public utilities and the private sector. And by starting the conversation about a more abundant and resilient water future on the Blue Planet.

water drop

Corporate decision support

big data to drive private sector investment in better water management


  • Enable private sector investment in resilient water infrastructure
  • Promote public-private partnerships to implement and scale up new projects


A visual, global database that identifies opportunities for the public and private sector to collaborate on water security.

Harnessing IoT datasheds

monitoring water from “snow cap to tap”


Harness distributed computing and ever-increasing streams of big water data to better manage water resources at scale from individual building operations to watersheds


  • The first fully instrumented building in the world that can link the domains of water quantity and water quality
  • Integrated data streams used to create new narratives about water supply, demand and efficiency and build water literacy

Urban efficiency

responsible growth for economies and communities


Design a narrative and shape markets to enable economic growth while reducing water use


Improved commercial, industrial and institutional water use efficiency through a lead-by-example approach, harnessing sensor test beds at ASU and leveraging relationships with the private sector valley-wide

Modular FEW technology

holistic solutions to global water challenges


  • Track metrics and certify performance standards for modular tech interventions for the developing world
  • Evaluate social, legal, religious and gender contexts for successful deployment via women-operated small businesses


A testbed and core USAID performance evaluation center that offers transferable lessons and scalable solutions

Cross training leaders

leveraging bright minds in water work


  • Develop innovative curricula that blend aspects of online platforms and internships
  • Cultivate the next generation of global water leaders who collaborate at the intersection of water, energy and food systems


A pipeline of water leaders that collaborate across sector boundaries and at scales that accelerate the path to water security


ASU researchers are developing tools to help governments and businesses make better water decisions, exploring options for adapting to urbanization and climate change, and identifying how cultural beliefs and values affect individual behaviors and public policy.


ASU Future H2O Council

The Future H2O Council connects the Future H2O Initiative to the breadth of water scholarship across ASU’s four campuses and shapes strategic water-related research & training initiatives at ASU. In this capacity, the council advises the Future H2O Initiative through its director about investment of ASU resources into strategic initiatives. Finally, the council serves a critical networking function on campus—connecting individual level research lab capabilities to strategic initiatives. This networking is expected to expand ASU’s capacity to both respond to large funding opportunities and to create the context for the next generation of these funding opportunities. The Future H2O Council meets quarterly, and makes specific recommendations for resource allocation, initiative development and integrated problem solving that ASU can uniquely address.

John Sabo
Director & Chair of Council

  • Morteza Abbaszadegan
  • Nadya Bliss
  • Netra Chhetri
  • Dan Collins
  • Steven Corman
  • Anne Feldhaus
  • Pat Gober
  • LaDawn Haglund
  • Rolf Halden
  • Michael Hanemann
  • Kiril Hristovski
  • Marco Janssen
  • Kelli Larson
  • Rhett Larson
  • Soe Myint
  • Charles Perrings
  • Beth Polidoro
  • Sarah Porter
  • Duke Reiter
  • Bruce Rittmann
  • Mark Schmeeckle
  • Selcuk Candan
  • Enrique Vivoni
  • Paul Westerhoff
  • Dave White