Who We Are


Advancing water science to meet Iowa’s water resource needs.


A robust and connected water science community


Unbiased, science-based, and transparent communication and actions Diversity, equity, and inclusion Systems approaches

The IWC’s objectives are the following:

  1. To identify Iowa’s most pressing water resource concerns and facilitate diverse stakeholders to plan, conduct, or otherwise arrange for research that strategically addresses these needs
  2. To educate water researchers, students, professionals, and local, state, and federal policy decision-makers on current basic and applied research and case studies
  3. To support the advancement of a system that enables innovative, interdisciplinary research and assists in the development of new and emerging water scientists


The Center is part of a national network created by the U.S. Congress in 1964 when it enacted Public Law 88-379, also known as the Water Resources Research Act (WRRA). The goal was to form a comprehensive research-based structure that could join with state and local agencies in safeguarding the nation’s water resources. Since 1964, Congress has reauthorized the Act several times, each time upholding its original intent. 

Today, there are 54 water institutes or “centers.” Each state is equipped with a water institute in addition to the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Geological Survey administers the network, while the National Institutes of Water Resources facilitates network activities and provides information about each institute, their common goals, and the nation’s water resources. 

The WRRA of 1964 called for water institutes to be located at our nation’s land-grant universities. This placed the Iowa Water Center on the campus of Iowa State University. A Director and an Advisory Board both set the direction and guide the operations of the Iowa Water Center.

How We Work

The IWC determines research needs by engaging a broad stakeholder base, drawing from deliberate, cooperative relationships with:

  • Iowa Water Center Advisory Board
  • Iowa Water Conference Attendees and Planning Committee
  • Water Scholars
  • Faculty, Staff, and Students at Iowa’s Colleges and Universities

The IWC provides accessible venues for water information dissemination, including hosting the annual Iowa Water Conference producing original water-science publications. These publications include:

  • Getting Into Soil and Water
  • Technical Reports
  • Conducting a Comprehensive Strategic External Communications Program

The IWC trains the next generation of water scientists by engaging undergraduate students, graduate students, and early career faculty in non-traditional education and development activities. This includes:

  • Co-advising the Soil and Water Conservation Club
  • Providing scholarships to attend the Iowa Water Conference
  • Fostering Annual Cohorts of Iowa Water Center Grant Recipients

The IWC administers a competitive research grants program that includes:

  • A Seed Grant Program
  • Graduate Student Supplemental Grants Program
  • National Competitive Grants Competition

The IWC represents the organization and its projects through its:

  • Service on Boards
  • Public Presentations
  • Attendance and Active Participation at Water-Related Events

The IWC facilitates a statewide network of interdisciplinary water researchers with networking, collaboration, and education opportunities encompassing:

  • Water Scholars
  • A Cohort of Researchers
  • Partners that Participate in a Series of Professional Development and Team Building Seminars, Annual Research Symposium, Biannual Water Research Needs Report