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UI Researchers part of $3M Grant for Columbia Basin Food, Energy, Water Needs

October 04, 2016

University of Idaho researchers will bring a law and policy perspective to a Washington State University project studying how to better coordinate and manage the food, water and energy needs of the Columbia River Basin.

Barbara Cosens, a professor in the College of Law with an expertise in water law, will lead research on how the law treats in-stream flows and water transfers, and how law affects the adaptive capacity of government as part of the project, which is funded by $3 million grant cosponsored between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Read more about the project on WSU News.

The FEW Storage project's goal is to make the region more resilient to a changing climate. In addition to UI and WSU, researchers from the University of Utah, Utah State University and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are partners in the interdisciplinary project.

The grant will fund four doctoral students for one year each. Two current doctoral students have already joined the project: Adam Wicks-Arshack, who is working toward concurrent degrees in law and water resources, will investigate how the law is used to inform WSU's models, and Rebecca Witinok-Huber,  will look at how to apply previous research into adaptive water governance to the  social-ecological setting of the Columbia River Basin. Both students are part of Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program, which is an interdisciplinary graduate program that focuses on water resources. You can find out more about IGERT here.

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at