Associate Professor of Soil and Water Science
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
The overarching theme of James Jawitz’s research program is water resource sustainability, which emphasizes securing sufficient water resources for urban and agricultural users while also ensuring protection for natural hydrologic systems.
Hydrologic systems of particular interest include groundwater resources that are threatened by uncontrolled releases of anthropogenic contaminants such as petroleum hydrocarbons and chlorinated solvents, and surface water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and wetlands whose ecological integrity has been compromised by water withdrawals or excess nutrient loading. Water resource protection and allocation is recognized as a significant challenge with special importance, not just in Florida, but also nationally and globally.
Jawitz’s research has made significant impacts in fields of groundwater quality protection, wetland restoration, and watershed-scale water quality forecasting. His research advancements in theory and practice for the clean-up of contaminated groundwater are recognized by academic scientists, consulting practitioners, and government regulators. He has organized academic symposia on protection and remediation of contaminated groundwater at international conferences in Europe and the U.S., and has presented invited lectures in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Jawitz has also delivered lectures to national and international audiences of academics and natural resource managers, reporting his work related to Everglades ecosystem restoration, coupled hydrologic and biogeochemical modeling, watershed-scale protection of Lake Okeechobee, wetlands in agricultural landscapes, and management of Florida lakes. There is strong demand for Jawitz’s ecohydrology research in Florida and this work is well supported by State and Federal agencies.
Among the impacts of his work in this area since 2006 is the development of a new technology to measure pollutant loads in surface water bodies, which is an important component of the monitoring programs mandated by the Clean Water Act. This technology was awarded a U.S. Patent in 2007.
Jawitz was elected by the campus-wide UF faculty in 2006 to serve a three-year term on the faculty oversight committee for the University of Florida Water Institute, and, in 2010, he was elected to serve as the chair for the UF Hydrologic Sciences Academic Cluster, a campus-wide interdisciplinary graduate academic program.