OAK RIDGE, TENNESSEE - IWR Director Robert Pietrowsky joined Jeff Wadsworth, Director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and James Houston, Director of Engineering Research and Development (ERDC), in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and ORNL. The agreement formalizes ongoing research and looks ahead to future collaborations that will pool resources of the Department of Energy lab, IWR, and ERDC. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.

“Our nation's goals of energy security, clean and plentiful fresh water and environmental sustainability are inextricably linked,” said ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth at the September 12, 2005 signing. “This collaboration will combine the strengths of each of our research institutions to develop new technologies to achieve all three goals simultaneously.”

The need for robust data sets and state-of-the-art models and analytical tools linking national and regional energy and water resources supplies, demands, and requirements are essential to developing strategies for the 21 st Century that concurrently address U.S. water, energy, environmental and other societal goals in a sustainable manner. “Unfortunately, the devastating impact of Hurricane Katrina has painfully reinforced the lesson that a secure water and energy infrastructure is a national priority - it serves as the fundamental foundation for a healthy environment, a growing economy and a safe society”, said IWR Director Robert Pietrowsky.

While ERDC and IWR provide engineering, socio-economic and environmental services to the Corps offices, other agencies and customers throughout the United States and around the world, ORNL applies internationally renowned scientific and computational prowess across several disciplines including basic and applied research in hydropower, environmental modeling, and technologies to safeguard water supplies and ports.

The next step will be the collaborative development of a white paper that describes the water resources and energy challenges facing the U.S. within the context of strategies for national economic, environmental and homeland security, including how USACE and ORNL can best complement each other in pursuit of the goals outlined in the memorandum of understanding. The paper will address, among other topics, basic science, technology innovations and analysis, assessment, prediction and decision support. Completion of the paper is scheduled for March.

The MOU is in effect for five years and may thereafter be extended by mutual agreement.