Water Research Foundation

Drupal 8 personalization with Acquia Lift

photo of dam releasing water

Water Research Foundation is a scientific organization specializing in coordinating and promoting the research of freshwater for utility use. Their work spreads across six continents with 2000+ projects valued at over $700 million.

After merging with another research organization, Water Research Foundation needed to consolidate web properties and improve the subscriber experience to expand the global impact of its research. To do that, they needed a top-tier Acquia Partner well-versed in their products and platform. 

Lift and Acquia Partners
WRF Home Page

Moving to Drupal and Acquia Cloud

Water Research Foundation’s legacy infrastructure spanned multiple systems including SharePoint and IMIS for constituent management. Clunky or non-existent integrations meant lots of manual processes and a disconnect between departments across the organization. 

A new stack built on Acquia Cloud promised enterprise scalability, along with Acquia DAM to replace SharePoint and IMIS for file storage. Acquia Lift and Content Hub brought website personalization to the mix to bolster the user experience. Finally, Personify replaced Sharepoint and IMIS as the primary user data source to tie everything together.

The resulting challenge was two-fold: how to integrate the new Drupal-based platform, and how to migrate all the data and content properly. 

WRF tech Stack

Drupal 8 Migration and Integration

WRF tech flow

In order to migrate content and files properly, the entire content model was re-architected to support more sophisticated relationships.

Hundreds of taxonomy terms to identify projects and documents were narrowed to core “topics” for both a better browse experience and a more detailed ability search. 

Content from SharePoint and IMIS was then programmatically migrated, tagged, and moved into Acquia DAM, which shares files to any system from a single point. Project data, migrated by the client team into Personify, is pulled into Drupal on an ongoing basis to tie people and projects together. 

Personalized for all users

Replatforming content was good, but that wasn’t enough to improve the experience for subscribers. One of the primary project goals was to increase subscriber engagement, or in other words, get more research into the hands of people who could use it. 

Features like the ability to follow content, frequent project updates, and subscriptions to “topic hubs” keep subscribers informed of new research without necessitating additional site visits to check out what was new. Meanwhile, personalization with Acquia Lift encourages users to further engage with each visi

WRF personalization


By tracking key activities with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, Data Studio dashboards make success easy to measure.

Within the first two weeks of the launch of the Drupal 8 site, returning user visits to the site rose 150%, with nearly 50 new accounts registered and over 600 content downloads across various research projects. Overall, a 10% increase in overall content views of projects, research and case studies shows that personalized user experience along with seamless technical integration is helping Water Research Foundation continue its mission.


increase in number of returning users within the first two weeks of launch.


increase in overall content views of projects, research and case studies