Exploring Sustainable Urban Water Management

Sowmithra M -

Hello everyone! In this blog, I’ll talk about existing literature, tutorials on R (a programming language), and other work I’ll be doing.   

I’ve been reading papers, project summaries, and articles about sustainable urban water management (SUWM). I mainly want to highlight a few things. Delivering Sustainable Urban Water Management: a review of the hurdles we face by R.R. Brown and M. A. Farrelly explains how the current major barriers are a lack of understanding and willingness to prioritize institutional change. Oftentimes, water management regimes pursue ad hoc demonstration projects, meaning one time projects that don’t appear in the long term and overall work plan. I hope to explore this aspect of implementation when doing my independent research. Current academics are also working towards changing this mindset. Furthermore, when reading the CNH2 Project Summary, I saw how an integrated approach where several factors are considered at once is necessary for water systems research. CNH2 is a program that supports projects that explores the dynamics between environmental and human components of integrated socio-environmental systems. You can read more about it here. I hope to learn from Dr. Garcia’s experience with integrative research on concurrent exposures to human and environmental components in urban water systems. Overall, these readings have grown my excitement to pursue a project in this field. 

Much of the rest of my time has been dedicated to learning about R, a programming language, and RStudio, a user interface for R. This is a tool that will help me work with vast amounts of project data and with synthesizing trends and plots. At first, I was a little overwhelmed to learn about something I had no prior experience in. I grew more confident and learned many things about the program with the tutorials Dr. Garcia provided. RStudio has 4 main panels to edit scripts, run codes, see variables you’ve created, and create plots. There exists different data types and ways to combine data sets, such as data frame, atomic vectors, logical, integer, and character. I am also slowly learning basic RPlus and how to plot different things, such as layered graphs, histograms, facets, and box plots. I hope to sharpen my R programming skills in the coming weeks. 

As for the rest of my week, today, I am going in to meet Dr. Garcia at the Walton Center for Planetary Health on the ASU Tempe campus. I will be getting accumulated to the office setting and meeting Dr. Garcia’s team of researchers. After today, I plan to begin working on a rough outline for my final research poster and continue my readings on SUWM and tutorials on R Studio. 

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