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New Student Orientation

Find your way around campus, make new friends and learn about the many opportunities at UI Aug. 20-23. Learn More

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Parent Orientation

Parent Orientation

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The Idaho Water Center

Built in 2003, the Idaho Water Center (IWC) building was envisioned to be a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary environment focused on Idaho’s most valuable natural resource: water.

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A Focal Point for Change

Today, research at the IWC addresses Idaho’s water challenges while creating a focal point for water-related research, water management and policy development.

The 215,000-square-foot, six-story building is a multi-use professional office, research and educational facility. The IWC houses the Idaho Department of Water Resources (IDWR), the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, and is the primary base of the University of Idaho Boise.

A Global Impact

The building is the headquarters of the University of Idaho Aquatic Imaging Flume and the largest StreamLab in the Pacific Northwest, both managed by the U of I Boise College of Engineering Center of Ecohydraulics Research. The Streamlab (also known as the flume) features a 21-yard sediment and is the only flume that can simulate processes that occur in mountain streams, allowing controlled research of processes in headwater streams and mountain rivers. As of 2022, the StreamLab has hosted over 40 national and international projects from universities, federal and state agencies, and regional companies. Recent local projects include the wave generating structure for the Boise River Recreation Park.

Green lit water siting still in a large flume
Recently fabricated Aquatic Imaging Flume (AIF) at the Idaho Water Center

The IWC has a 93 ENERGY STAR certification and includes a geothermal water heating system, eliminating the need for a supplemental heat source.

U of I Boise

Water research and learning opportunities

University of Idaho conducts research to support the water resource needs of the state of Idaho, the northwest region and the nation. U of I offers applied water-related research and learning opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students as they work toward becoming the next generation of water resource scientist. U of I also offers education and outreach programs through UI Extension and the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute (IWRRI), providing support and information to water managers, scientists and the public at large.

At the IWC, U of I conducts aquifer management as well as water conservation research, satellite-based remote sensing, and the use of drones for real-time monitoring as a tool to promote precision agriculture which, along with efficient irrigation technologies, is another avenue to protect water quality standards in Idaho waterways.

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Idaho Department of Water Resources

Managing water in the State of Idaho.

The Department of Water Resources (IDWR) is Idaho’s state agency tasked with administering water rights, quantifying and measuring Idaho’s surface and ground water resources, and developing water management analysis and tools for use by the public and other state agencies. IDWR also regulates well construction in Idaho and conducts regular safety inspections on nearly 550 dams throughout the state.

IDWR supports the Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB). The IWRB formulates and implements Idaho’s state water plan, finances water projects, and operates programs that support sustainable management of Idaho’s water resources.

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U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station

Sustainable management of forests and rangelands.

From its inception, the Forest Service has been charged with the protection of watersheds and water resources. Its mission has grown to include management of air quality, water pollution, recreation and habitat conservation to protect these resources on federal lands.

The Forest Service research advances critical knowledge about complex physical and biological interactions in a wide variety of western ecosystems. This research is accomplished through an extensive network of partnerships, including collaborative studies with U of I to conduct field work on public lands and model river processes and habitats in the IWC ecohydraulics laboratory. New knowledge gained from this research is essential to meet the complex and extensive challenges facing western water management.

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