Gem State Roundup

How do climate, tech and population growth change how Idaho uses water and energy? Researchers got $24M to find out.

By: - May 11, 2023 11:19 am

The Cascade Dam. (Anteia McCollum/Idaho Capital Sun)

Researchers in Idaho expect to receive $24 million in funding to undertake a new study of how climate, population and technology affect water and energy use in the Gem State.

The bulk of the funding — $20 million — comes from an award from the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, or EPSCoR. The state will contribute another $4 million for the study, according to a press release from the University of Idaho.

Idaho is the perfect place for this study, because we have a variety of ecosystems, community types and management practices. We have everything from the semi-arid south to northern temperate forests and a cross section of rural towns, Native American communities and urban centers.

– University of Idaho Professor Andrew Kliskey, principal investigator on new EPSCoR research project

The goal of the project is for researchers to identify strategies for resilient use of water and energy as Idaho’s population increases, the climate changes and technology evolves.

“This project is necessary right now because the intersection of water and energy issues is critical to Idaho’s people, industries and livelihoods,” University of Idaho Professor Andrew Kliskey, who is leading the research project, said in the press release. “It demonstrates big picture, use-inspired, science-informed approaches.”

For the study, researchers from the University of Idaho, Idaho State University, Boise State University, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and the Shoshone Bannock Tribes will team up, according to the press release. The researchers are also partnering with Idaho National Laboratory, local utility companies, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies and tribal nations.

“By having such a variety of case studies, we hope our findings will be helpful for many communities across the West as they plan,” Kliskey said in the release.

More than 35 university faculty members, 10 postdoctoral researchers, 20 graduate students and more than 120 undergraduate students are expected to be involved with the study.


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Clark Corbin
Clark Corbin

Clark Corbin has more than a decade of experience covering Idaho government and politics. He has covered every Idaho legislative session since 2011 gavel-to-gavel. Prior to joining the Idaho Capital Sun he reported for the Idaho Falls Post Register and Idaho Education News. His reporting in Idaho has helped uncover a multimillion-dollar investment scam and exposed inaccurate data that school districts submitted to the state.