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Multidisciplinary project awarded NSF funding to build community capacity and engagement around water resources

Boise State University faculty were recently awarded a $650,000 grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation Convergence Accelerator to support research that will build capacity for equitable water education and adaptive watershed management and stewardship. The research team will use multidisciplinary science, education, technology and film to raise the collective “water consciousness” of communities, through products including a mobile Water Wise application for public use and a documentary film that will propel education and engagement.

Boise State researchers apply science, technology and art to solve real problems that face the local and national community, such as the rapidly changing environment. This project, with team members from across the institution, other universities and partners, is a model of how to work together and multiply skills with a team-based framework.

“This water consciousness project is the epitome of multidisciplinary work that will drive innovation in adaptive water management by engaging and supporting communities through improved access to water data and associated educational materials,“ said Kendra Kaiser, a research assistant professor and the leading investigator on this Convergence Accelerator project.

This project has four main objectives, each working to expand the understanding of local water challenges and opportunities. These objectives include:

  1. gain insight into the community perspectives and values about water,
  2. design an education plan that will increase community water consciousness,
  3. create a Water Wise app for mobile devices geared towards community needs and increase equitable access to water information, and
  4. use film to fuel community engagement through narrative.

Combined, these objectives will help communities be more informed about water resources and how important water management is to their daily life, and will bridge the gap to water data.

The Water Consciousness Team believes local communities must understand how local water sources affect their lives and the world around them. With this project, the team is excited to bring resources to anyone who wants to better understand their water and local water management. They look forward to engaging communities to increase water consciousness, particularly in the Treasure Valley where the project will start.

Media Contact: Kendra Kaiser, Research Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator of the NSF Convergence Accelerator Project, Boise State University,

About The Water Consciousness Team:
Our team is composed of hydrologists, economists, social scientists, teachers, storytellers and filmmakers. They are passionate about co-creating tools and resources to support communities in adapting their water management to be more equitable and resilient to change.

To learn more about the project, visit the Water Consciousness website.