Developing science-based, engineering solutions, guided by robust understanding of natural and human engineered systems.

energywaterIn many areas of the United States and multiple regions of the world, competing demands for fresh water outweigh sustainable supply. Water issues increasingly limit economic development, impact interdependent infrastructure (such as energy and agriculture), and are a fundamental source of conflict. The primary objectives of the Sandia Water Initiative are to:

  • Increase the safety, security and sustainability of water infrastructure through the development of advanced technologies that create new water supplies
  • Decrease demand through water-use efficiency
  • Provide decision-informing tools to the institutions responsible for balancing supply and demand

View the History of the Energy/Water program

Solutions and tools needed for the complex challenges of water infrastructure security at multiple levels (regional, national, international).


Katherine Klise

Applying  internationally recognized capabilities in materials science, systems engineering, and waste management programs to the challenges of water treatment.


Amy Halloran

Water, Energy, and Natural Resource Systems

Supporting long term planning and management of resources at the international, federal, state and regional levels through the development of decision support models and tools.


Vince Tidwell


Sandia National Laboratories partners with the United States Environmental Protection Agency whose mission is to protect human health and the environment. Through a partnership with the EPA’s National Homeland Security Research Center (NHSRC), Sandia developed a risk assessment methodology for assessing the vulnerability of the physical infrastructure of water systems in our nation’s largest cities after 9/11. Since then, Sandia has worked with EPA-NHSRC to develop a number of software tools for enhanced monitoring of water distribution networks and response to contamination events in these networks.
awwalogoIn a partnership between the American Water Works Association (Awwa) Research Foundation (AwwaRF) and Sandia National Laboratories, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) undertook a program in 2000 to improve security at water utilities across the United States. Sandia has also worked with AwwaRF (now the Water Research Foundation or WaterRF) to assess the impacts of water quality sensor precision and accuracy on the results of water quality event detection algorithms.
publogoThrough the use of Sandia’s CANARY event detection software, Singapore’s national water authority PUB has made a quantum leap in their utility’s practices to uncover water quality events. By partnering with Sandia, PUB has dramatically improved their ability to respond to water quality changes and allows them to arrest poor quality water before it reaches consumers. Ongoing work with PUB is focused on real time identification of contaminant source locations for grab sample data.
texasamlogoDr. Carl Laird and his research group in the Chemical Engineering Department continue to work with us on computational tools for analysis of water distribution networks. Current work being done at Texas A&M University is focused on efficient methods for solute transport in networks and optimization of sample locations during a contamination event.

Water Infrastructure Security


Sensor Network Design for Drinking Water Contamination Warning Systems: A Compendium of Research Results and Case Studies using the TEVA-SPOT

Murray, R., T.M. Haxton, R.J. JANKE, W.E. Hart, J. Berry AND C. Phillips. Sensor Network Design for Drinking Water Contamination Warning Systems: A Compendium of Research Results and Case Studies using the TEVA-SPOT- Report. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, EPA/600/R-09/141, 2010


The CANARY Guidance Document: US EPA 2010, Water Quality Event Detection Systems for Drinking Water Contamination Warning Systems: Development, Testing, and Application of CANARY, EPA/600/R-010/036, 91pp.

McKenna, S.A., E.D. Vugrin, D.B. Hart and R. Aumer, 2012, Multivariate trajectory clustering for false positive reduction in online event detection, ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, Accepted for publication and available online, March, 3rd.

Sun et al., 2009, Joint Physical and Numerical Modeling of Water Distribution Networks, SAND2009-0323

(Vugrin et al., 2009) Vugrin, Eric, McKenna, SA, & Hart D, “Trajectory Clustering Approach for Reducing Water Quality Event False Alarms” Proceedings of the 2009, World Envi. & Water Resources Congress, Kansas City, MO. 2009.

(Hart et al., 2007) Hart, DB, McKenna, SA, Klise, KA, Cruz, VA & Wilson, MP, “CANARY: A water quality event detection algorithm development and testing tool”, Proceedings of ASCE World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2007, ASCE, Tampa FL. 2007.

(McKenna et al., 2007) McKenna, SA, Hart, DB, Klise, KA, Cruz, VA & Wilson, MP, “Event detection from water quality time series”, Proceedings of ASCE World Environmental and Water Resources Congress (EWRI) 2007, ASCE, Tampa FL. 2007.

(Klise & McKenna, 2006a) Klise, KA & McKenna, SA, “Multivariate applications for detecting anomalous water quality”, Proceedings of the 8th Annual Water Distribution Systems Analysis (WDSA) Symposium, ASCE, Cincinnati OH. 2006.

(Klise & McKenna, 2006b) Klise, KA & McKenna, SA, “Water quality change detection: multivariate algorithms”, Proceedings of SPIE Defense and Security Symposium 2006, International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE), Orlando FL. 2006.

(McKenna et al., 2006) McKenna, SA, Klise, KA & Wilson, MP, “Testing water quality change detection algorithms”, Proceedings of the 8th Annual Water Distribution Systems Analysis Symposium (WDSA), ASCE, Cincinnati OH. 2006.

(Hall et al., 2007) Hall, J, Zaffiro, AD, Marx, RB, Kefauver, PC, Krishnan, ER, Haught, RC & Herrmann, JG, “On-line water quality parameters as indicators of distribution system contamination”, Journal of the American Water Works Association, vol 99, no. 1, pp. 66-77. 2007.

(US EPA, 2005) “Water Sentinel Online Water Quality Monitoring as an Indicator of Drinking Water Contamination”, EPA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 817-D-05-002. 2005.

Water Security Toolkit (WST):

Mann, A.V., S.A. McKenna, W.E. Hart and C.D. Laird, 2012, Real-Time Inversion in Large-Scale Water Networks Using Discrete Measurements, Computers and Chemical Engineering, pp. 143-151, doi:10.1016/j.compchemeng.2011.08.001

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