Air delivery is typically the greatest parasitic power loss in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) systems. We here present a detailed study of an active water management system for PEMFCs, which uses a hydrophilic, porous cathode flow field, and an electroosmotic (EO) pump for water removal. This active pumping of liquid water allows for stable operation with relatively low air flow rates and low air pressure and parallel cathode channel architectures. We characterize in-plane transport issues and power distributions using a three by three segmented PEMFC design. Our transient and steady state data provide insight into the dynamics and spatial distribution of flooding and flood-recovery processes. Segment-specific polarization curves reveal that the combination of a wick and an EO pump can effect a steady state, uniform current distribution for a parallel channel cathode flow field, even at low air stoichiometries (α air = 1.5). The segmented cell measurements also reveal the mechanisms and dynamics associated with EO pump based recovery from catastrophic flooding. For most operating regimes, the EO pump requires less than 1% of the fuel cell power to recover from near-catastrophic flooding, prevent flooding, and extend the current density operation range.