Reservoir research delivers water quality forecasting system

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BEDFORD CO., Va. (WDBJ7) A Virginia Tech Professor and her students are taking a close look at a local reservoir, and their research could have an impact far beyond western Virginia.

We caught up with Cayelan Carey and her team at Falling Creek Reservoir just outside of Vinton.

They've developed a way to forecast water quality, a process that could help communities around the world manage their supplies of drinking water.

"This is the first water quality forecasting system of its kind," Carey told WDBJ7, "and we actually had colleagues from Europe come over in May to learn about this so that they can set up a similar system in Ireland."

The Western Virginia Water Authority has been working with Virginia Tech since the late '90s.

Gary Robertson is the Executive Director of Water Operations, and says Carey's research will help the water authority operate more efficiently.

"In the past, I think most people just accepted that whatever water quality they had in the reservoir would be what they had to treat at their plant," Robertson said in an interview. "Now we're coming to the realization that there are things that we can do in the reservoir to assist us and use a more natural approach to treating the drinking water."