Mission Statement

NYS Water Resources Institute at Cornell University

The Mission of the New York State Water Resources Institute (WRI) is to improve the management of water resources in New York State and the nation. As a federally and state mandated institution located at Cornell University, we are uniquely situated to access scientific and technical resources that are relevant to New York State's and the nation's water management needs. We collaborate with regional, state, and national partners to increase awareness of emerging water resources issues and to develop and assess new water management technologies and policies. WRI connects the water research and water management communities.


In collaboration with partners:
  • Build and maintain a broad, active network of water resources researchers and managers.
  • Bring together water researchers and water resources managers to address critical water resource problems.
  • Identify, adopt, develop and make available resources to improve information transfer on water resources management and technologies to educators, managers, and policy makers.



At the federal level the Water Resources Research Act of 1984 (PDF), as amended, authorizes a water resources research institute in each state and territory to:

  • "plan, conduct, or otherwise arrange for competent research that fosters (A) the entry of new research scientists into the water resources fields, (B) the training and education of future water scientists, engineers, and technicians, (C) the preliminary exploration of new ideas that address water problems or expand understanding of water and water related phenomena, and (D) the dissemination of research results to water managers and the public"
  • "cooperate closely with other colleges and universities in the State that have demonstrated capabilities for research, information dissemination, and graduate training in order to develop a statewide program designed to resolve State and regional water and related land problems."


The New York State legislature established WRI (PDF) under state law as the New York State Water Resources Institute at Cornell University in 1987 with the purpose of addressing critical problems of water resource quality and management.

The legislation directs WRI to:

  • "pursue and sponsor, both at Cornell and elsewhere, investigations and experiments of either a practical or basic nature, the education and training of scientists and specialists, and outreach activities for the dissemination of information and the provision of technical assistance relating to the state's water resources."
  • "undertake specific projects in support of state agencies, particularly in the development of assessment methodologies and criteria for guidance or standards for use in management and regulatory programs."
  • "provide for information dissemination, including technical and scientific consultation with and briefings for state agencies concerned with water resources management and regulatory affairs."

National Institute for Water Resources (NIWR)

Under federal legislation, each state's water resources institute is also directed to "cooperate closely with other institutes and other organizations in the region to increase the effectiveness of the institutes and for the purpose of promoting regional coordination." The New York State Water Resources Institute is a member of the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) (http://niwr.montana.edu/about/default.htm). The purpose of NIWR is to cooperate with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) (http://water.usgs.gov/wrri/ ) to:

  • establish total programmatic direction
  • report on the activities of the state Water Institutes
  • coordinate and facilitate regional water research and information and technology transfer, and
  • operate the NIWR-USGS Student Internship Program to help train future water scientists.
NYSWRI is part of the Mid-Atlantic Region of NIWR, along with the Institutes in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

2013-14 WRI Faculty Steering Committee Members

Name Email Phone Department Address Remarks Web Page
Bunting-Howarth, Katherine keb264@cornell.edu 255-2832 EXTN 112 Rice Hall   Link
DeGaetano, Art atd2@cornell.edu 255-0385 EAS 1119 Bradfield Hall Ex-Officio Link
Grantham, Deborah dgg3@cornell.edu 255-8229 CCE 381 Roberts   Link
Hay, Anthony agh5@cornell.edu 255-8471 MICRO B53A Wing Hall   Link
Mukai, Motoko mm2295@cornell.edu   VET Diagnostic Lab A2230   Link
Poe, Gregory glp2@cornell.edu 255-4707 AEM 422 Warren Hall   Link
Richardson, Ruth rer26@cornell.edu 255-3233 CEE 317 Hollister Hall   Link
Riha, Susan sjr4@cornell.edu 255-1729 EAS 1110 Bradfield Hall Ex-Officio Link
Schneider, Rebecca rls11@cornell.edu 255-2110 DNR 112 Fernow Hall   Link
Stedinger, Jery jrs5@cornell.edu 255-9004 CEE 213 Hollister Hall Chair Link
Walter, Todd mtw5@cornell.edu 255-2488 BEE 222 Riley-Robb Hall   Link
Wolfe, David dww5@cornell.edu 255-7888 HORT 168 Plant Science   Link

New York State Water Resources Institute
1023 Bradfield Hall
Cornell University,
Ithaca, NY 14853-1901

e-mail: nyswri@cornell.edu
phone: 607-255-3034
fax: 607-255-2106