A defining feature of Hydrological Connectivity is Bound Water, which entails understanding and engineering of: water retention in soil, porous media flow, surface-groundwater interactions, biogeochemistry, waterborne disease transmission, and interactions between microbial activity and water in processes such as carbon and nitrogen transformation. Molecular engineering approaches to mitigate effects of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) could be considered.
Some of these topics are of interest to Argonne as well, particularly in terms of microbial metabolism and microbial ecology of terrestrial and aquatic systems, and are particularly suitable for Chicago-Israel connections because of the similar degree of human development of the landscape for cities and for agriculture. Microorganisms change the overall properties of soil (e.g. porosity, resistance to wind erosion, capacity to store water etc.) The fundamentals of soil/microorganisms interaction are not well understood. This is an area of active research at BGU and can be further enhanced by UChicago/ANL expertise in granular materials and modeling of bacterial swarming.