Greetings! This is my last President’s Message, and it comes soon after our Board of Directors convened for our AIH Annual Meeting. During the meeting, our Board of Directors reflected on accomplishments and challenges from the past year and established specific strategies and tactics to achieve goals for 2023. I’m delighted about the continued achievements of AIH during my tenure as President, and I’m excited about the next steps for the organization.
While our activities and initiatives have attracted many new members to AIH, we experienced significant challenges over the past year in maintaining our previous members through membership renewals. Many members have retired from the hydrology industry, but others either have not updated their member contact information or simply decided not to renew their membership. Critical priorities for 2023 include continued emphasis on promoting the branding of our AIH certifications, and demonstrating the benefits of certification and membership to our members.
As we wrap up 2022, I’m pleased to report that we are nearly complete with a comprehensive update to our database of examination questions for our AIH certification exams. The process established by our team was successful and the approach may be applied for continued updates to our examination questions database. We convened a team of experts during the fall to develop new examination questions. Updates will be completed prior to our next round of examinations.
AIH held two Water New Year events in Sacramento, California and St. Paul, Minnesota, where members of our AIH Board welcomed the season of maximum soil moisture recharge with current and prospective AIH members. My hope is that we continue this ritual and encourage expansion across other geographies.
We also continued to engage with the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) and other affiliate organizations to promote PH certification for hydrologists and HT certification for hydrologic technicians. After a two-year hiatus from in-person attendance, we actively participated in the AWRA 2022 Annual Conference. Our involvement in the conference is detailed in a summary provided by AIH Director for Institute Development, Salam Murtada, in this Bulletin. Additionally, led by AIH Past-President, Dr. John Nieber, AIH collaborated with AWRA to produce a special issue of the AWRA publication Water Resources IMPACT, titled “Hot Topics in Hydrology.” This special issue features articles by AIH members on a handful of current topics and on recent advances in hydrology research and professional practice. We will look to share information on how AIH members can access this great publication at a later point.
We had a wonderful year – and the next will surely be awesome under the leadership of Julé Rizzardo. Look for continued initiatives by our Board to connect our AIH community and advance AIH through promoting the benefits of certification.
Lastly, I will close through reiterating important points you have seen before:
A call to all AIH certified members, as ambassadors of AIH, to take pride and flaunt your AIH acronym. Be HIT-, HT-, and PH-proud.
Member participation is vital to AIH’s success. We are eager to engage more members in AIH activities. Please reach out to our Secretary/Membership Liaison, Jolyne Lea, at email@example.com, to get involved.
AIH’s Board of Directors (BOD) recently held its Annual Meeting virtually on December 2 and 3, 2022. The BOD reflected on accomplishments from 2022, and established goals, strategies, and tactics for 2023. Keep an eye out for some exciting items in the coming year with plenty of opportunities for active member engagement in various activities!
The American Institute of Hydrology (AIH) played an important role at the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) Annual Conference that took place in Seattle, Washington, November 7-9, 2022. Salam Murtada (Director, Institute Development) and Dr. Zhong Zhang (Director, Academic Affairs) attended the conference and represented AIH.
On the first day of the conference, AIH facilitated a climate change contest during a 30-minute engagement break. The game involved grouping participants for brainstorming ideas on select climate change-related topics. An appointed spokesperson from each group then presented their team’s ideas. The level of engagement and dedication was remarkable; they were all winners!
During a technical session, Salam provided a presentation titled Certifying the Practice of Hydrology. Salam’s presentation was an overview of AIH – its mission, purpose, structure, membership, and process for certification of hydrologists.
Salam also participated as one of the panelists for the Student and Early Career Professional Development Luncheon to advise students and professionals about their careers in hydrology and benefits of certification for hydrologists.
To promote our AIH membership and certification, AIH partnered with AWRA to offer 2022 Annual Conference attendees 50% off the membership application and examination fees. The collaboration also involved other benefits, such as featuring AIH information and items in conference materials, and e-mail blasts about AIH to all conference attendees.
As Gold Level Sponsors of the conference, AIH was able to present the 2022 AIH Awards during the conference Awards Luncheon. The Charles V. Theis Award for Groundwater, Ray K. Linsley Award of Surface Water, and Robert G. Wetzel Award for Water Quality were issued to Dr. Todd Halihan, Dr. Bruce Wilson and Dr. Vijay P. Singh, respectively, for their outstanding contributions to the field of hydrology. Dr. Halihan and Dr. Wilson accepted their awards in-person. Dr. Singh accepted the award in absentia due to his residency overseas. The awardees offered important remarks during their acceptance speeches.
Dr. Todd Halihan, recipient of the Charles V. Theis Award for Groundwater, is a professor and Sun Company Clyde Wheeler Chair in Hydrogeology at Oklahoma State University, as well as Chief Technical Officer for Aestas, LLC. Dr. Halihan’s professional interests center in subsurface characterization using electrical hydrogeology and water supply sustainability. He has been an associate editor for Groundwater and has served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the U.S. Chapter of the International Association of Hydrogeologists. He served as the Chair of the Hydrogeology Division and the South-Central Section of the Geological Society of America. He was also the National Ground Water Association’s 2018 McEllhiney Lecturer.
“This award,” remarked Dr. Halihan, “is named after C.V. Theis who had some serious negative feedback by establishing quantitative analysis for transient well hydraulics. In my work, I have tried to advance an approach similar to the energy industry of scanning, then drilling our groundwater sites to have a more comprehensive conceptual model. The negative feedback was surprising, but I found inspiration in the way Theis managed his detractors. The lesson I learned is to find guidance from supporters who want to see the science advance and change, which inspires me far more than those detractors that seem to like the status quo.”
Dr. Bruce Wilson, recipient of the Ray K. Linsley Award for Surface Water, is a professor in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Wilson’s research is focused on improving our understanding of hydrologic and water quality processes and erosion mechanics. Dr. Wilson has received awards from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Center for Transportation Studies, and the Erosion Control Association. Professor Wilson is also a recipient of the Distinguished Graduate and the Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Awards, and the Charles E. Bowers Teaching Award. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
“Our survival,” remarked Dr. Wilson, “the survival of human civilization – is dependent on the wise use of our water resources. We should be proud – pat ourselves on our back – that our work is critically important. But we should also be sober because our system is so complex – complex physical, chemical, biological components, and complex interactions among them.” Dr. Wilson acknowledged his colleagues, Dr. John Nieber (AIH Past-President) and Dr. Curt Larson, his graduate school advisor who happened to be Professor Ray Linsley’s PhD student.
Dr. Vijay P. Singh (AIH Past President), recipient of the Robert G. Wetzel Award for Water Quality, is a University Distinguished Professor, a Regents Professor, and Caroline and William N. Lehrer Distinguished Chair in Water Engineering at Texas A&M University. Dr. Singh has published extensively in the areas of hydrology, groundwater, water quality, irrigation engineering, hydraulics, and water resources (more than 1470 journal articles; 35 textbooks; 85 edited reference books; 121 book chapters; and 330 conference papers). He has received more than 107 national and international awards, and three honorary doctorates. He has served as President of AIH, Chair of Watershed Council of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and President of American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE). He has served as editor-in-chief of three journals and two book series and serves on editorial boards of more than 25 journals and three book series. Dr. Singh is an Honorary diplomat of ASCE-AAWRE, a distinguished member of ASCE, a Distinguished Fellow of AGGS, a Distinguished Honorary Member of IWRA, and an Honorary Member of AWRA.
“I am deeply humbled to receive the award for two reasons,” remarked Dr. Singh. “First, Dr. Wetzel was a giant in the water quality field, and it is a rare honor for me to have my name associated with Dr. Wetzel. Second, I have long been associated with the American Institute of Hydrology, almost since its beginning years. AIH is like my home institute inception and to be recognized by it is very special to me.” Dr. Singh acknowledged the support of his family, especially his late wife Anita, students and colleagues, among others.
The award ceremony concluded after honoring outstanding hydrologists and giving tribute to the leaders of the past, who paved the way for them to continue their important work.
Thanks to its leaders and organizers, AWRA delivered a very successful Annual Conference in 2022!
Dr. Miguel A. Medina, Jr., PH, F.ASCE (Professor Emeritus, Duke University)
Dr. Mustafa Aral, PH, F.ASCE (Professor Emeritus, Georgia Tech University)
The Republic of Türkiye changed its official name from The Republic of Turkey on 26 May 2022, in a request submitted to the United Nations Secretary-General by the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was indeedunique that two former American Institute of Hydrology presidents, Dr. Miguel Medina Jr (2009-2010) and Dr. Mustafa Aral (2015-2016) presented keynote addresses in a country far away from the USA! The events unfolded at the International Water Association (IWA) 4thRegional Conference on Diffuse Pollution and Eutrophication (IWA DIPCON 2022) in Istanbul, Türkiye, held at the Istanbul University main campus, from October 24-28, 2022.
Lunches for conference speakers, organizers and participants were held at the historic and ornate Istanbul University faculty dining room.
A conference welcoming cruise along the Bosphorus proved to be one of the highlights of the conference social activities. The Bosphorus Strait is an internationally significant waterway. It forms part of the continental boundary between Asia and Europe. However, there are now three bridges and a tunnel connecting the European side of Istanbul to the Asian side. A brand-new cruise ship terminal (Galataport) is illustrated below. The Bosphorus allows shipping from the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and vice versa. A field trip to dams and aqueducts providing water to European Istanbul was organized on the last day of the conference, October 28th.
Though dams have existed for centuries, many large dams were built throughout the United States as early as 100 years ago. Initially, dams mainly stored excess water for later use—typically during a drier part of the year. However, dams have grown to become multipurpose infrastructures supporting hydropower generation, drinking water demands, and industrial water supply. Now, we are highly dependent on our dams and the water they store.
Scientists caution that climate change, and the increasing number of extreme weather events, will significantly impact our water resources. In recent years, weather patterns have changed so much, that the rainfall is not as predicable (e.g., Salas et al., 2020; Xu et al., 2022). Many places are getting most of their annual rainfall in a few intense events, while the rest of the year is dry (e.g., Ingram, 2016). Instead of slowly gaining and releasing water throughout the year, in some areas, reservoirs are seeing an influx of a year’s worth of rainfall all at once (e.g., Fleming & Weber, 2012; Maddu et al., 2022; Naz et al., 2018; Yu et al., 2014). This change might not seem significant, but existing dams were simply not designed to accommodate storm water like that.
Imagine a dam is almost full, and a major rainstorm happens. If the dam fills more, it could overflow, and dam safety would be a concern. Likely, you would open the dam gates to release some of the extra water. This prevents water from spilling over the top and prevents the dam from failing entirely. But, if you open the gates, you are losing water. Then, what happens during the dry months?
There are many stakeholders who can contribute to a sustainable watershed. Let us take a closer look at some potential solutions for managing water in a time when precipitation patterns are changing. We can design for excess water, store as much water as possible, and be responsible water stewards.
Designing for Excess Water
This is where urban planners step up—by planning how the city fits into the watershed and how water moves in and around the city. The closer buildings, parking lots, and asphalt roads are to the reservoir inlet, the more quickly large amounts of runoff will enter the reservoir. When impervious surfaces—like concrete and asphalt—are evenly distributed across a watershed, instead of being concentrated in specific locations, it slows down the movement of water (e.g., Ariano & Oswald, 2022; de la Cretaz & Barten, 2007; Roodsari & Chandler, 2017). This concept allows for sustainable development while mitigating the excess flow and delaying the amount of water entering the reservoir (e.g., Liu et al., 2022; R et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2021).
In addition to planning where major developments are built in relation to the reservoir, green spaces within a city are also important. In a dense cityscape, think of green spaces like small sponges. The vegetation can soak up some of the water where it slowly drains into the groundwater system, instead of running off as stormwater and entering a reservoir.
Some urban areas even plan for water collection in and on areas that typically would have just been a source of runoff water. For example, landscape architects can incorporate water-absorbing green roofs where appropriate. Some locations that are prone to flooding might want to consider porous asphalt, where water slowly seeps through roads and parking lots instead of running off or pooling up.
Lastly, from a planning perspective, accounting for how the city will grow can lessen flood consequences. Planners can limit urban expansion to areas outside of potential flooding areas. Landscape architects working together with engineering designers can create resilient watersheds. This will help minimize the impact of climate change to our reservoirs.
Maximizing Water Storage
Sometimes, dam owners can raise the height of the dam to accommodate for more intense rainfall. Though, this solution is not always a viable option. As such, we should think about managing the water before it enters the reservoir. Upstream management measures can be innovative and cost-effective. For instance, several detention ponds can be built to temporarily store the incoming water and gradually release it to reduce the pressure on the main reservoir during an extreme event. Appropriate measures can vary from one watershed to another, but ponds might be a simple and cost-effective solution.
While detention ponds offer a good potential solution, there are also two key drawbacks that make them a less-attractive option. First, dam owners often do not own the upstream lands in the watershed, so trying to build a dam and manage water on someone else’s land might not be possible. Second, from a risk perspective, adding upstream detention ponds increase the risk downstream. If a smaller upstream dam failed, it would release that water all at once, adding greater strain on the main reservoir dam.
If building a pond or additional reservoir is not feasible, there could be a middle-ground approach of reclaiming or expanding wetlands. A wetland area can provide a natural buffer to soak up excess water upstream of a reservoir. Wetlands also bypass the two major concerns of the temporary detention ponds. Wetlands may be easier to get permission to create or expand, and there is less risk since there are no additional dams to monitor.
Responsible Water Stewardship and Applying Ancestral Lessons
With weather forecasting, we can all be aware of rain patterns, and can even be notified not to water our lawns and outdoor plants before an extreme rainfall event. Some sprinkler systems run from a timer and will go at the same time every day even if it is raining! Rainwater that is absorbed into your yard recharges our groundwater system instead of flowing directly into a reservoir.
Some of the most sustainable and effective measures are not necessarily the most high-tech. Humans have been managing water for centuries, adopting effective means of storing water to survive droughts, even in arid climates. Community members can contribute to effective water management by understanding and applying lessons learned from our ancestral past. Do not discount your role in managing our limited water resources; we all play a part!
Ariano, S. S., & Oswald, C. J. (2022). Broad scale assessment of key drivers of streamflow generation in urban and urbanizing rivers. Hydrological Processes, 36(4), e14579. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.14579
de la Cretaz, A. L., & Barten, P. K. (2007). Land Use Effects on Streamflow and Water Quality in the Northeastern United States (0 ed.). CRC Press. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781420008722
Fleming, S. W., & Weber, F. A. (2012). Detection of long-term change in hydroelectric reservoir inflows: Bridging theory and practise. Journal of Hydrology, 470–471, 36–54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.08.008
Ingram, W. (2016). Extreme precipitation: Increases all round. Nature Clim. Change, 6(5), 443–444. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nclimate2966
Liu, W., Qian, Y., Yao, L., Feng, Q., Engel, B. A., Chen, W., & Yu, T. (2022). Identifying city-scale potential and priority areas for retrofitting green roofs and assessing their runoff reduction effectiveness in urban functional zones. Journal of Cleaner Production, 332, 130064. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.130064
Maddu, R., Pradhan, I., Ahmadisharaf, E., Singh, S. K., & Shaik, R. (2022). Short-range reservoir inflow forecasting using hydrological and large-scale atmospheric circulation information. Journal of Hydrology, 612, 128153. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2022.128153
Naz, B. S., Kao, S.-C., Ashfaq, M., Gao, H., Rastogi, D., & Gangrade, S. (2018). Effects of climate change on streamflow extremes and implications for reservoir inflow in the United States. Journal of Hydrology, 556, 359–370. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.11.027
R, M. K., L, H. S., Jia, L., Trevor, H., & Shawn, H. J. M. (2020). Spatial Configurations of Land Cover Influence Flood Regulation Ecosystem Services. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 146(11), 04020082. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0001294
Roodsari, B. K., & Chandler, D. G. (2017). Distribution of surface imperviousness in small urban catchments predicts runoff peak flows and stream flashiness. Hydrological Processes, 31(17), 2990–3002. https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.11230
Salas, J. D., Anderson, M. L., Papalexiou, S. M., & Frances, F. (2020). PMP and Climate Variability and Change: A Review. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 25(12), 3120002. https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0002003
Wang, Y., Zhang, X., Xu, J., Liang, C., She, D., & Xiao, Y. (2021). Evaluating effects of urban imperviousness connectivity on runoff with consideration of receiving pervious area properties. Urban Water Journal, 18(8), 598–607. https://doi.org/10.1080/1573062X.2021.1918182
Xu, Z., Chang, A., & di Vittorio, A. (2022). Evaluating and projecting of climate extremes using a variable-resolution global climate model (VR-CESM). Weather and Climate Extremes, 38, 100496. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wace.2022.100496
Yu, P.-S., Yang, T.-C., Kuo, C.-M., Chou, J.-C., & Tseng, H.-W. (2014). Climate change impacts on reservoir inflows and subsequent hydroelectric power generation for cascaded hydropower plants. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 59(6), 1196–1212. https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2014.912035