Information Tool on Urban Water Systems

The  Zofnass Program for Sustainable Infrastructure has developed the Information Tool on Urban Water Systems. It provides holistic information about the city’s water systems for non-expert stakeholders, such as city managers, policymakers, and the community. The outcome of research on urban water management cases across US, from East to West Coast, is a data-driven framework designed to be tailored to varying water system challenges. The first prototype was built for the City of Chelsea MA. The tool consists of two parts: the first can be summarized as “learn the system” and the second as “improve the system.” Through data visualization and system-based storytelling, the first part provides information about the urban water system, performance data, and geospatial synergies. The second part – through interactive modeling and scenario evaluation – highlights the opportunities to improve the system. The algorithm identifies the buildings, streets, and parking areas for potential green infrastructure interventions, and quantifies their impact to the reduction of runoff and imported water.


A summary of the prototype for Chelsea MA:

You can access the tool at and learn more about the project at

The Zofnass Information Tool on the Urban Water System of the City of Chelsea MA is an informed and well done analysis of the opportunities to improve the City’s ability to both address stormwater regulatory and environmental needs while also providing more cost-effective service to the community.

Andy DeSantis Assistant Director of Public Works, City of Chelsea


Research team:

Spyridon Ampanavos, Sang Cho, Xiaoran Du, Lezhi Li, Jianing Liu, Yannis Orfanos, Yiying Yang

Supervised by Yannis Orfanos

The research was supported by a grant on urban water management from the Surdna Foundation.