An Interdisciplinary Investigation

Restorative and ruinous, excessive and scarce, water sustains life on Earth, alternatively fueling or undermining ecosystems, biodiversity, the global economy, and technological innovation.

To highlight this most precious resource, Columbia is proud to announce the Year of Water. Throughout the next two semesters, the University will hold art exhibits, concerts, lectures, and symposia focused on water in all of its social, political, cultural, economic, and environmental complexities.


"It is exciting for the School of the Arts to spearhead the Year of Water and to play a central role in convening the institutes, schools, and programs at Columbia engaged in important research and action around these vital concerns."

Carol Becker, Dean, School of the Arts
A woman, wearing a dark teal dress and standing in front of a sea blue background, rests her head on her hand and smiles into the camera.

More Events

Upcoming Events

A composite photo of the Earth inside a drop of water
No-Boundaries International Art Exhibit

August 2019 – January 2020

Five hundred selected artworks from children from all over the world will be shown in galleries in Beijing, Paris, Nairobi, New York, and Rio de Janeiro. “A Drop of Water” encourages exploration of the relationship between people and water through art. 

A large group of people process down a pathway holding aloft large, lanterns shaped like animals and flowers illuminated against the dark sky.
Morningside Lights: Island

Saturday, September 21
8:00 pm

The beloved neighborhood tradition returns for its eighth consecutive year. Starting September 14, Miller Theatre opens its doors for a week of free lantern-building workshops, culminating in a magical, illuminated procession through Morningside Park.

A collage of images of the ocean, glaciers, and groups of people talking
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Open House

Saturday, October 5
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Whether you’re an aspiring young scientist or a long-time science enthusiast, you’re sure to enjoy Lamont-Doherty’s Open House. Tour a lab, participate in hands-on earth science demonstrations, and learn from world-renowned researchers about their latest discoveries.

Open House is free and open to the public, with a $5 suggested donation.

A man in a dark suit and tie sits on a stool, looking downward slightly and smiling into the camera.
Miller Theatre Composer Portrait: Vijay Iyer

Thursday, October 24
8:00 pm

A MacArthur Fellow, a Doris Duke Performing Artist, and DownBeat Magazine’s Artist of the Year four times, Iyer is creating a modern realization of the practice of American music through his wide-ranging work. Brooklyn-based ensemble The Knights make their Miller debut in this Portrait, along with the New York premiere of his concerto Trouble, written for violinist Jennifer Koh.

Past Events

A photo of the skyline of Manhattan with the words "At What Point Managed Retreat? Resilience Building in the Coastal Zone" ghosted over it.
Resilience Building in the Coastal Zone

Wednesday, June 19  Friday, June 21

9:00 am to 5:00 pm

This conference will address a range of issues facing coastal communities in the United States and around the world as sea levels rise and coastal flooding becomes more frequent and intense, bringing together thought leaders to advance the science and policy dialogue. The conference will be of interest to academics, planners, practitioners, and industry representatives from sectors such as real estate and insurance.

A large, modern warehouse-like building sits on the waterfront, with a tugboat in the foreground.
Women in Energy Site Visit: Sunset Park Materials Recovery Facility

Friday, May 3, 2019 
3:00 pm to  4:15 pm

This state-of-the-art facility processes the largest volume of metal, glass, and plastic in North America—about 1,000 tons a day. Sims also features the largest solar panel array in Brooklyn, the only industrial size wind turbine in the city, and oyster cages, mussel ropes, and bio swales to filter storm water runoff.

A large group of pedestrians stroll through the car-free intersection of Broadway and West 18th Street in Manhattan.
Car-free Earth Day (Broadway)

Saturday, April 27
9:00 am to 3:00 pm

Join the Earth Institute at 26th and Broadway for stickers, academic program information, and fun activities with the educational team from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Time travel through NYC's climate history and discover what life would have been like in different climates and time periods!

Centers on Water Research

Dozens of research centers and departments across Columbia are engaged in interdisciplinary research on water. Here are a few of them.

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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Seeking fundamental knowledge about the origin, evolution, and future of the natural world

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International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Improving the resilience of water systems worldwide

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Columbia Water Center

Our mission is to creatively tackle water challenges of a rapidly changing world where water and climate interact with food, energy, ecosystems, and urbanization.

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Kartik Chandran Lab

We develop technologies that provide clean water and sanitation to populations worldwide, while concurrently transforming wastewater into resources, including water, energy, and fertilizer.

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Gentine Lab

Investigating continental water and carbon cycles using big data

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Environmental Tracer Group

Research on water movement in natural systems, oceanography, rivers and estuaries, and paleoclimatology