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$2.04 million in federal funding flows to Georgia Southern’s Institute for Water and Health for coastal Georgia safe water research and education

Molecular Microbiology Laboratory at the Institute for Water and Health

Georgia Southern University proudly announced today $2.04 million in federal funding to support the Institute for Water and Health’s (IWH) Safe Water Together initiative. This significant allocation, secured by U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, underscores a commitment to ensuring sustainable access to safe water among coastal Georgia communities.

“The Safe Water Together project will unite partners across a wide range of networks – including municipalities, environmental agencies, businesses, school districts, and local communities – to collaboratively address current challenges to water resources through research and education, and to apply innovative approaches to water quality diagnostics,” said Georgia Southern President Kyle Marrero. “This new initiative will allow Georgia Southern to further our reach and our impact — all to better serve the people who live and work in Georgia.” 

Water security stands as the cornerstone of community resilience and is inseparable from issues of economic growth, food security, and environmental health. The IWH is dedicated to bridging scientific and technological solutions to support a collective vision of safe water, sustainable environment, and resilient communities. Through the Safe Water Together program, IWH will accomplish key elements of its public impact mission.

Marrero cited Carter’s role as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Environment, Manufacturing and Critical Materials as a crucial position to influence the coastal Georgia community’s water resources infrastructure and thanked him for being an advocate for the project.

Guests explore the new Institute for Water and Health during the ribbon cutting ceremony

“I want to thank our partner Representative Buddy Carter, an unwavering champion of Georgia Southern, for seeing the vision and for securing the necessary funding for this project to move forward,” Marrero continued. “Representative Carter understands the practical impact of water on our region’s ability to attract and retain business and industry, to grow jobs and ultimately to improve our economy. I also want to offer my sincere appreciation to our U.S. Senators, Senator Warnock and Senator Ossoff, for their support of this project in the Senate.” 

The Safe Water Together initiative will engage partners from various sectors to tackle issues stemming from the region’s rapid population growth and economic development, its aging infrastructure, the longstanding presence of natural and man-made contaminants, and saltwater intrusion into the Floridan aquifer. By leveraging cutting-edge water quality diagnostics, the program aims to serve the unique needs of local communities while providing a model for public-private partnership solutions.

“Our district has been blessed with rapid economic growth and development, attracting people and businesses from around the world who want to call it home. Safe water collection practices are critical to maintaining GA-01 as a great place to live and work. I’m proud to support Georgia Southern’s Safe Water Together Initiative, which will boost our local economy and preserve our district’s health and beauty by ensuring safe and sustainable water access for all coastal Georgians,” said Carter. 

Established in 2021, the IWH harnesses transdisciplinary research expertise to provide scientific and technological solutions to support a collective vision of safe water, sustainable environment, and resilient communities. With 18 affiliated faculty members spanning natural sciences, public health, environmental engineering, education, and social sciences, the Institute is at the forefront of water sciences research. The IWH team is engaged in grant-funded projects sponsored by the United States Environmental Protection Division, National Science Foundation, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The team leads convergent water research projects, applies cutting-edge technologies, and partners with communities to tackle complex issues supported by data driven solutions.

(L-R): Benjy Thompson, immediate past chair of the Georgia Economic Developers
Association; Christopher Curtis, Ph.D, Georgia Southern interim vice president for Research and Economic Development; Asli Aslan, Ph.D., MSc, director of the Georgia Southern Institute for Water and Health; Georgia Southern University President Kyle Marrero; U.S. Representative Buddy Carter, R-GA; Victoria Clower, second-year Georgia Southern doctoral student in the Community Health Behavior and Education program and IWH graduate research assistant; Annalee Ashley, Ed.D., Georgia Southern vice president for External Affairs, Communications, and Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff to the President; Carl Reiber, Ph.D., Georgia Southern provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

The funding announcement took place during a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of the IWH. Situated within the Georgia Southern Research Complex on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah, the 6,000-square-foot facility enhances the Institute’s capacity to provide timely and accurate water analyses and solutions for coastal communities. The IWH’s real-world impact extends beyond research, offering community water testing and environmental risk assessment, hydrologic modeling, K-12 environmental education, and professional development services.

Although the facility formally opened today, the IWH has already been making a meaningful impact across the communities throughout southeast Georgia and the entire state. The research facilityrepresents another landmark in the growth of the University’s real-world impact upon the region and its development.


Posted in Press Releases