Eno River
Charlotte Water Tower


WRRI has a 50-year history of impacts to many facets of water across NC. Through research, engagement, inspiration, and application, we’re changing the future of our state’s water resources, the communities we serve, and the field of water research and management.

We invest in the UNC System

WRRI provides resources across the UNC System, supporting junior faculty and undergraduate/graduate students in particular. Over the last 20 years, WRRI has supported 9 UNC institutions with investments totaling over $13,399,047.

Rich McLaughlin

We Sponsor Research

Through a combination of federal, state, and local water utility funds, WRRI provides grants for water research to academic researchers at NC’s colleges and universities and, through utility-based partnerships, to consultants and practitioners. We encourage researchers to consult and collaborate with the end-users of their research to maximize relevance and application of the results. We seek input from our advisory committee and other stakeholders to help us guide research efforts towards the highest priority water resource issues. We aim to support the highest quality investigators and projects, and strive to support junior faculty when possible. We have a strong history of student support through our research program, including a new student proposal funding program. We have a rigorous, transparent peer review process for our proposals, and ensure that all research results are publicly available when projects conclude.

Above: Researcher Rich McLaughlin and the erosion control simulator off Lake Wheeler Road. Photo by NC State Communications.

Sankar Arumugam

We Facilitate Exchanges

WRRI is an interface for academics, practitioners (such as government staff, private consultants, and contractors), and the public to learn from each other and to help guide water-related research and management efforts to ensure they reflect the state’s priority needs. Our connections and our many platforms for exchange (such as our annual conference, communication tools, publications and training workshops) help ensure that research results are transferred to the people who can best use them. With trained facilitators on staff, we offer assistance to various stakeholder groups, including assisting with strategic and organizational planning, providing expertise on state boards and committees, gathering and synthesizing input from diverse stakeholders, and engaging people in participatory exercises that enhance dialogue and problem solving around water resources.

Above: Researcher Sankar Arumugam and the spillway at Falls Lake. Photo by NC State Communications.


We Train NC’s Water Professionals

From 2010-2015, almost 6000 individuals participated in WRRI trainings and received over 600 professional development units. In the last 25 years, we’ve helped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Land Quality Section train over 10,000 erosion and sediment control professionals as part of the requirements of the state Sedimentation Pollution Control Act.

We Educate Decision Makers

Local governments, state agencies, water utilities, private consultants, researchers, non-profits, professional associations – all of these people make decisions and take actions in their daily professional lives that affect water resources in our state. WRRI offers training workshops, forums, seminars and other educational events, including our diverse, multidisciplinary annual conference, to help inform these target audiences on the latest in water research, management practices, and regulations in order to promote informed, science-based decision making.