History and Mission

Cascades Shots during summer


In 1964, a congressional act established a network of 54 water resource programs to be placed at land-grant universities across the nation. Virginia Tech was selected to house the Commonwealth’s water center in 1965 under the name “Virginia Water Resources Research Center” (“The Water Center”). The Water Center began operations with federal and state funding administered through the Virginia Tech’s Research Division, and was authorized by the Virginia General Assembly as a state agency in 1982.

The center annually receives a federal base grant for program administration and development from the U.S. Geological Survey, under the Department of the Interior. Combined with funding secured from project-specific contracts and grants, our center has been recognized as one of the nation’s outstanding water resources programs.

Presently, the Water Center is affiliated with the Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment and is a member of the National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) and the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR)We take pride in our continued efforts to offer funding to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students attending Virginia’s colleges and universities. We are constantly looking for ways to support meaningful water research, and we are dedicated supporters of interdisciplinary research and educational projects.

The Water Center also acts as an information resource for interested citizens, water specialists and professionals. We produce the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, a blog on water-related news, events, and information sources; Virginia Water Radio, a weekly broadcast/podcast using sounds and music to introduce water-related topics and issues; “Announcements” from the Virginia Water Monitoring Council; plus research bulletins, reports, and other publications.


The Water Center has a long-standing tradition of offering resources and support to researchers, educators, and decision makers throughout the state. The Code of Virginia explains that the Water Center exists

“for the purposes of developing, implementing and coordinating water and related land research programs in the Commonwealth and transferring the results of research and new technology to potential users.” (Code of Virginia, 23-135.7:8)

Our functions, powers, and duties have also been established by the Code of Virginia and include:

  • consulting with the General Assembly, federal, state and local agencies, nonprofit organizations, private industry and other potential users of research;
  • establishing and administering agreements with other universities of the Commonwealth to carry out research projects;
  • disseminating new information and research results;
  • facilitating the application and transfer of new technologies
  • being a liaison between Virginia and the federal research funding agencies as an advocate for Virginia’s water research needs;
  • encouraging the development of academic programs in water resources management in conjunction with the State Council on Higher Education.

Advisory Board

An advisory board provides feedback and guidance on Water Center activities. Click here for a current list of members of the VWRRC Statewide Advisory Board.

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