Congratulations to our 2023 AIH Award Winners!

Founder’s Award:

Dr. John Nieber – P.H., P.E., Ph.D

Professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

Charles V. Theis Award for Groundwater:

Dr. Ken Howard – PHG, PGeo, FGC, CGeol FGS, PhD.

Professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences

Ray K. Linsley Award for Surface Water:

Dr. Jeff McDonnell – P.H., FRSC, Ph.D.

Professor at the University of Saskatchewan in the School of Environment and Sustainability, and Associate Director at the Global Institute for Water Security.

Institute Development Recap

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!

AIH Award Winners

The American Institute of Hydrology (AIH) recognizes the following individuals for their outstanding accomplishments in the fields of groundwater, surface water, and water quality:

  • Vicki Kretsinger Grabert, PH (Luhdorff & Scalmanini Consulting Engineers) – Charles V. Theis Award for Contributions to Groundwater
  • Dr. Phil Bedient (Rice University) – Ray K. Linsley Award for Contributions to Surface Water
  • Dr. Ying Ouyang, PH (U.S. Forest Service) – Robert G. Wetzel Award for Water Quality

These awards are named after prominent scientists and engineers, who have made numerous lasting contributions to the hydrologic sciences. Join us in congratulating Vicki Kretsinger Grabert, PH, Dr. Phil Bedient, and Dr. Ying Ouyang, PH!

Charles V. Theis Award for Contributions to Groundwater - Vicki Kretsinger Grabert, PH

Vicki has more than 30 years of experience in regional groundwater resource management and groundwater quality assessments. Additionally, she has played key leadership roles in promoting technical collaboration, education, and training of groundwater hydrologists, and in development and implementation of legislation and key polices, regulations, and management strategies for sustainable groundwater resources management. Her technical contributions and achievements during her career supported improved groundwater resources management across California for agriculture, industrial, and municipal beneficial uses.

Ray K. Linsley Award for Contributions to Surface Water - Dr. Phil Bedient

Dr. Bedient has been a long-time leading applied researcher in watershed flooding, storm-surge impacts, flood early warning systems, and surface water quality. He formed the Severe Storm Prediction Center (SSPEED) at Rice University in 2009 consisting of a team of seven universities and 15 investigators from Gulf coast universities dedicated to improving storm prediction, education, and evacuation from disaster. He has also spent the majority of his career at Rice University where has become one of the most notable national figures in surface water hydrology, especially as it relates to flooding and stormwater runoff.

Robert G. Wetzel Award for Water Quality - Dr. Ying Ouyang, PH

Dr. Ouyang has made transformative contributions to hydrology, soil physics, and water resources. He is a world-renowned hydrologist in developing STELLA models. Additionally, he served as associate editor for the Journal of Environmental Quality of Soil Science Society of America for 15 years.

Call for Awards

The American Institute of Hydrology (AIH) recognizes its members for outstanding accomplishments in the fields of groundwater, surface water, water quality, and institute development. These awards are named after prominent scientists and engineers, who have made numerous lasting contributions to the hydrologic sciences. AIH Awards include:

  • Charles V. Theis Award for Groundwater
  • Ray K. Linsley Award for Surface Water
  • Robert G. Wetzel Award for Water Quality
  • Founders Award for Institute Development

The nomination packet for each award should contain the following:

  1. A formal nomination letter by the nominator, outlining the education, career, and a record of performance detailing accomplishments and noteworthy impact achieved by the potential candidate.
  2. A current resume of the nominee.
  3. A minimum of two and maximum of four supporting letters with a limit of three pages each.

The supporting letter writers should state briefly how they know the nominee and describe why the nominee is deserving of the award. Please submit your nomination to by Tuesday, March 16, 2021. Award winners will be notified and the awards will be presented at an upcoming conference to be determined later in the year.

The Charles Vernon (C.V.) Theis Award was established in 1986, to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions in groundwater hydrology. Charles V. Theis graduated with a PhD from the University of Cincinnati in June 1929 and made numerous contributions to the field of groundwater science throughout his life.

The Ray K. Linsley Award was established in 1986, to recognize individuals who have made outstanding contributions in surface water hydrology. Dr. Linsley made numerous contributions to surface water hydrology and was the principal author of the textbook Applied Hydrology, published by McGraw-Hill in 1949. He directed the PhD dissertations of 35 students at Stanford University covering research on mechanics of overland flow, rainfall synthesis, stochastic hydrology, and modeling of the hydrologic cycle. These efforts led to the development of the Stanford Watershed Model, a state-of-the-art tool of hydrologists worldwide.

The Robert G. Wetzel Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the field of water quality. This award was dedicated in 2006, to the family of the late Robert G. Wetzel. Dr. Wetzel was a true leader in the field of freshwater science. His thoughts and brilliant synthesis of all aspects of lakes and streams are included in more than 30 books and 400+ publications including the definitive college textbook of this field, Limnology.

The AIH Founders Award was established in 1990, to recognize individuals who have provided outstanding, long and dedicated service to the Institute. It was established to honor the AIH founders Sandor Csallany, Alex Zaporozec, and Roman Kanivetsky. The award is given at the discretion of the AIH Executive Board to a member in good standing.

AIH 2020 Award Recipients

AIH honored 3 awardees for their professional achievements and contributions to the field of hydrology at last week’s AWRA Virtual Conference.

AIH 2020 Award Recipients