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Dr. Ralph Wurbs
Dr. Ralph Wurbs | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

Dr. Ralph Wurbs, a senior professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been selected as the first American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) Outstanding Research and Innovation Award recipient.

Founded in 2004 in affiliation with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), AAWRE strives to advance the leadership and societal impact of water resources engineering through certification, continuing education and ethical practice. This new award, introduced in 2018, recognizes significant contributions in advancing the field of water resources engineering through innovative research and development.

“I am greatly honored to receive the inaugural AAWRE Outstanding Research and Innovation Award. Being recognized and supported by the distinguished water resources engineers participating in the AAWRE awards process makes this award especially meaningful to me,” said Wurbs.

Wurbs is a fellow and life member of ASCE, an AAWRE founding Diplomate (2004) and was awarded the distinction of AAWRE Honorary Diplomate in 2014. He was selected for the 2019 award for his research, creation and continuous expansion of the Water Rights Analysis Package (WRAP) Modeling System and its implementation in the Texas Water Availability Modeling System. His work has been sponsored by various organizations, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Water Development Board, Texas Water Resources Institute, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and agencies within the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Energy.

WRAP, an elaborate set of computer simulation tools, analyzes and assesses capabilities of river and reservoir systems in meeting water supply, hydroelectric power, environmental flow, flood control and reservoir storage needs. Since 1996, Wurbs and his graduate students have been continually expanding WRAP modeling and analysis capabilities in order to provide vital tools for the water resources management community of Texas.

In doing so, WRAP has played a fundamental role in major legislatively mandated advances in water management and planning in the state over the past 15 years. These include analytical support for administration of the water rights permit system, statewide and regional planning, integrating environmental flow standards in comprehensive water management and improved operational planning for drought management.

“My research team has been privileged to work within a community of outstanding professionals employed by government agencies, engineering firms and universities to improve water management in Texas through advances in both modeling and analysis methods and institutional partnerships. Innovative, expanded water resources planning, allocation and management capabilities developed by the water resources engineering community in Texas are relevant throughout the world,” said Wurbs.

Learn more about Wurbs and his WRAP project on his research website.