Dr. Christopher J. Martinez

Water Resources

With his appointment is through the University of Florida's Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, Chris Martinez has a focus on urban water resources. Martinez uses his position in the department and his role with the Center to take both a broad view and a narrow view of his subject.

Taking the broad view, Martinez works to understand how climate forecasting can benefit urban water management. The numerous factors that water managers take into account must be handled through a decision-making process that involves managing large volumes of data. The trend in decision-making situations of this kind is to try to create mathematically based, computer-run procedures, usually called models, that analyze the data. Often, managers will run numerous scenarios through the models, and in the end, human judgements must be made about the best actions to take.

In addition to the technical questions of using climate forecasting in water resource management, Martinez would also like to understand the barriers that keep water managers from including climate forecasts in their standard management approaches. Strictly speaking, this is not an engineering problem, but it demonstrates the growing need for engineers to go beyond technical issues in understanding and engaging their clients.

The "narrow" view fills out Martinez' program perfectly. As part of his work with the Center for Landscape Conservation and Ecology, Martinez conducts workshops that train building professionals how to plan, design, and build for more efficient use of resources. Martinez works the problem of urban water resources from both sides by dealing directly with the needs of water managers and the needs of water users. The workshops are part of the Program for Resource Efficient Communities (PREC), a University of Florida program that focuses on bringing the university's many areas of expertise to bear on promoting "design, construction, and management practices that measurably reduce energy and water consumption and environmental degradation in new residential community developments. The training Martinez offers through this program helps building professionals understand the impact of their decisions on non-point source pollution, which basically means fertilizers and pesticides that are washed off residential and commercial properties by irrigation or rain.

Research and Extension

Chris Martinez - Associate Professor