The Water Institute is an independent, non-profit, applied research institution advancing science and developing integrated methods to solve complex environmental and societal challenges. We believe in and strive for more resilient and equitable communities, sustainable environments, and thriving economies.



Coastal regions are confronting complex, diverse, and interconnected challenges, including the impacts of sea-level rise, land loss, subsidence, environmental degradation, and increases in storm frequency and intensity. Communities, businesses, ecosystems, and essential infrastructure in these regions are facing substantial and growing hazards and risks. The Water Institute works to provide the best available science and decision making support to enable stakeholders to analyze, manage, and reduce risks.

How We Work

The Water Institute Methodology

The Water Institute methodology employs applied science to assist communities to make informed decisions and plan for an uncertain future. Our goal is to fully inform and advise decisionmakers in evaluating alternatives grounded in science, research, and community priorities.
Explore the methodology wheel to learn more.


The decision point is outside of our domain—our goal is to fully inform decision makers but not advocate for any one alternative.

Discovery & Engagement

The Water Institute begins by meaningful and deliberate community engagement, identifying problems and objectives, and conducting background and policy research.

Metrics & Evaluation

The Water Institute designates physical, natural, and social metrics to measure success toward the community’s goals.

Tool Development

The Water Institute collects data and creates tools such as predictive numerical modeling and scripts for data analysis to advance knowledge of the problem at hand.

Alternatives Analysis

Leveraging its transdisciplinary approach, the Water Institute utilizes integrated modeling to identify alternative solutions to challenges.


To further support the decision process, the Institute prioritizes all identified solutions, outlining the tradeoffs and consequences of each.

Planning & Policy Development

The Water Institute supports the decision process by further prioritizing projects and conducting research to inform policy development following decisions.

Adaptive Management

The Water Institute supports decision makers as they assess and adapt their plans over time to reduce uncertainty.

Scientific Rigor

Scientific rigor and advancement, stakeholder engagement, and quality assurance/quality control are central to each step of the Water Institute's methodology.


The Water Institute communicates complex scientific topics to stakeholders through plans, tools, maps, and other visualizations of data.

Learn More about the Water Institute

Community Resilience Center at The Water Institute

The Community Resilience Center at The Water Institute (Center) works with partners, stakeholders, and local communities to enhance and expand climate resilience equitably among individuals and communities in the northern Gulf of Mexico.

The work helps communities move beyond assessment and study of risk towards an exploration of strategies that can be implemented across individual, neighborhood, municipal, state, and federal levels.

Recent Project
Advancing Coastal Resilience Through Public-Private Partnerships in Walton County, FL

Like many coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico, northwest Florida has been experiencing flooding exacerbated by sea level rise, as well as tropical storms, heavy rainfall events, and man-made impediments that are becoming more frequent and severe. ...

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Latest News
Chandeleur Islands to be submerged in 20 years if restoration efforts fall short, experts say

Launching from a harbor in Biloxi, a handful of Louisiana-based restoration groups headed south for the Chandeleur Islands on Wednesday. The Louisiana island chain is in danger of being totally submerged in 20 years if their efforts are not successful, one of the expert...

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Recent Publication
Leveraging co-production within ecosystem restoration to maximize benefits to coastal birds

Coastal Louisiana's ecosystems are threatened by anthropogenic factors exacerbated by climate change induced sea-level rise. The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill resulted in injuries and deaths to coastal birds in Louisiana, and the ongoing loss of h...

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