PhD Research - Eric Fournier

MA Environmental Science, Yale University; BS Environmental Science, Bucknell University

Eric Fournier's research focuses on understanding the systemic environmental and economic tradeoffs associated with large-scale alternative water-supply systems. In particular, he is interested in issues that occur at the so-called energy-water nexus: a term that refers to the dynamic relationship between the water used for energy production and the energy used to purify and transport water. His dissertation project will involve the study of the fastest growing source of new water supply in the State of California: the reuse of treated municipal wastewater.

In his proposed dissertation project, Eric seeks to understand the dynamic energy-water usage efficiencies of civil engineering projects involving the recharge of groundwater aquifers via the reuse of treated municipal wastewater. This project will involve the construction of a three-component integrated assessment model. The first component will use a cartographic modeling technique known as Weighted Overlay Analysis (WOA) to develop a quantitative understanding of the location and extent of geographic areas that are suitable as sites for groundwater recharge. The second model component will use a genetic algorithm to address the multi-objective spatial optimization problem associated with locating corridors for the support infrastructure required to physically transport the treated wastewater from its site of treatment to the site of recharge. The third and final model component will take data about the anticipated recharge source, destination, and infrastructure corridor and use them to populate a spatially explicit Life Cycle Inventory describing all of the process energy and material inputs associated with the project. The goal of this integrated assessment model will be to understand how different geographic contexts, i.e. topography, land cover, population, etc. influence the net water-energy efficiency of groundwater recharge via treated wastewater.

Year Admitted: 2010
Research Areas:
Faculty Advisor: Arturo Keller



Geyer, R., Fournier, E., Stoms, D., Davis, F. A Sparse Grid Based Method for Spatially Explicit Life Cycle Assessment. 2013. Manuscript in Preparation.


  • Walton Family Foundation, Sustainable Water Markets Fellow
  • NSF Funded Graduate Research Assistant
    Project Tile: The Application of Geographic Information Science to Life Cycle Assessment
  • CEC Funded Graduate Research Assistant
    Project Title: Sun to Wheels Program - Rooftop Mounted Photovoltaic Energy Generation Capacity Assessment