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ASU professor awarded engineering research prize for hydrology work

portrait of ASU professor Enrique Vivoni
May 27, 2014

Arizona State University associate professor Enrique Vivoni has been named a recipient of the 2014 Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The honor is awarded to recognize notable achievements in research related to civil engineering, and is generally given to younger members (under the age of 40).

The ASCE cited Vivoni for his “contributions to the understanding of ecohydrologic processes in semi-arid areas, including the moderating role of vegetation and interactions among water, energy and carbon cycling, and to the development of high-resolution hydrologic models, including the use of parallel computing systems.” The selection committee particularly noted his focus on the impacts of climate change on ecosystems in arid and semi-arid regions.

Vivoni holds a joint appointment in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He is internationally recognized in the fields of distributed hydrologic modeling; ecohydrology of semi-arid regions; North American monsoon studies; and integration of engineering tools for advancing hydrologic science.

In his research contributions to civil and environmental engineering in the hydrology and water resources specialization, Vivoni has distinguished himself in integrating scientific and engineering tools for understanding and forecasting watershed processes and their spatiotemporal distributions.

Over the past year, he has made some significant advances. He has demonstrated the role of terrestrial plants on topographic, radiation and hydrological properties in aspect-delimited ecosystems; developed participatory modeling workshops in Mexico that address infrastructure and climate change impacts on water supply in rural settings; and identified the role of urban irrigation on soil moisture dynamics and its management implications in Phoenix.

“It is truly an honor to receive this particular award since it has been previously bestowed on investigators in hydrology and water resources who transformed the discipline during the 20th century,” says Vivoni. “To follow in the footsteps of Peter Eagleson (1963), Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe (1975) and Rafael Bras (1993), among others, is both an honor and a responsibility which I hope to live up to during my career.”

Instituted in 1949, the prize has been awarded to five individuals per year since 1958. Vivoni will accept the award at the Environmental and Water Resource Institute (EWRI) Congress in Portland, Oregon, June 1-5. He is one of five winners in 2014, but the only one receiving his award at EWRI’s conference.