Energy Supply Readiness Across Climate Change and Energy Demand Scenarios in the Columbia River Basin; Socio-Technical Relationships between Water Access and Quality in Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey

Garcia, Samantha, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Ku, Sharon Tsai-Hsuan, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Quinn, Julianne, EN-Eng Sys and Environment, University of Virginia

This thesis portfolio will discuss the STS research topic of socio-technical relationships among water quality and access within the United States and the technical report will touch on the topic of the optimization of ten reservoirs in the Columbia River Basin. The research topic will dive into two case studies within the United States that will investigate the issues within water access that can lead to poor water quality. Once poor water quality becomes involved the concern with health and overall wellbeing is raised and considering all citizens have the right to clean water, serious cases of negligence and poor communication between residents and government officials. These actions can end up with criminal charges against the people involved and improvements made to laws, regulations, and infrastructure for the affected communities. The two case studies I will be looking at closely are Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey; these studies emphasize how critical the role of government and regulations are when issues with drinking water arises. The technical report will be using computer software to run multiple scenarios amongst the reservoirs by changing the values for climate conditions and energy demands. The group will decide on the most robust policy to fulfill the reservoirs’ needs of controlling flooding, contributing electricity to the Northwest’s power supply, protecting aquatic life especially the valuable salmon population, and making sure the system runs smoothly so the basin can receive funding. The two topics although are not directly correlated but still relate because they both are concerned with water problems within the United States. Also, the Columbia River Basin provides drinking water to many residents since the reservoirs’ stored water is sent to water treatment plants to be distributed to the communities. The two case studies both handle issues within drinking water quality for the resident due to poor decisions made by the government. These aspects show how the two topics relate to each other and both deal with drinking water concerns.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
water quality, water access, Columbia River Basin, energy supply and demand, Flint, Michigan, Newark, New Jersey, SCOT framework, wicked problem framing, socio-technical-political ethics, climate change

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Technical Advisor: Julianne Quinn
STS Advisor: Sharon Tsai-hsuan Ku
Technical Team Members: Hong Liang, Kenneth Ross, Cameron Bailey

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