National Water Research Institute

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The National Water Research Institute (NWRI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, located in California, was founded in 1991. It is devoted to promoting the protection, maintenance, and restoration of water supplies through collaborative research and outreach activities. It is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of representatives of water and wastewater agencies/districts in Southern California.

NWRI serves as a major source of water-science research funding in the United States, focusing efforts on issues in drinking water, wastewater, water resources, and water reuse. NWRI also provide knowledge and training in these areas through publications, workshops, and conferences.


NWRI’s core funding comes from the Joan Irvine Smith & Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, supplemented by funds from joint-venture partners: local, state, and federal governments, as well as from private industry, public utilities, and universities. NWRI also receives funding from its member agencies; representatives from each of NWRI’s member agencies serve on NWRI’s Board of Directors.

Member agencies[edit]

  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency
  • Irvine Ranch Water District
  • Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
  • Orange County Sanitation District
  • Orange County Water District
  • West Basin Municipal Water District


the Institute conducts research that reflects the broader and emerging roles water resources plays in complex urban environments, in the areas of

  • Treatment and monitoring
  • Water quality assessment
  • Knowledge management
  • Exploratory research

The Institute awards Fellowships to support master's or doctoral graduate research related to water

The Institute also awards the Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize, established in 1993, to honor outstanding individuals who have implemented better water science research and technology. The Prize—a gold medallion and $50,000 award—is presented every summer; the Clarke Prize recipient delivers the annual Clarke Lecture.


The directors of NWRI have been Ronald B. Linsky, from 1991–2005, and Jeffrey J. Mosher, from 2005–2017. Kevin Hardy succeeded Jeff Mosher in April 2017. Another notable Person associated with NWRI has been its important private sponsor, Joan Irvine Smith, the great-granddaughter of James Irvine, an immigrant who assembled about 120,000 acres (490 km2) of what is now Orange County, California, to form the Irvine Ranch.

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