Water Management & Protection Prize - 9th Award


Dr. Jay R. Lund – University of California Davis, USA

Dr. Jay R. Lund developed the CALVIN water supply optimization model for successful application in the US state of California. The CALVIN model provides a tool for the integrated analysis of regional water supply systems that couples traditional water supply criteria with economic considerations. CALVIN was successful in reshaping and optimizing water planning and management in California, with substantial improvements to the public welfare. This encouraged many countries around the world, including Mexico and Spain, to develop large-scale economic-engineering optimization models with CALVIN as their backbone.

Dr. Lund has been directly involved in optimization modeling of other major water systems, including the Columbia River system, the Missouri River system, South Florida, the US Southeast, and the Panama Canal. His work shows how the natural and social sciences can inform public policy in a challenging political environment and contribute to regional water conflict resolution. It also demonstrates how game theory, through the creative use of non-cooperative games, can be harnessed to develop more effective water management policies by identifying the externalities and evolutionary pathways of dynamic water resource problems.

Winner Profile

Dr. Jay R. Lund

Dr. Lund is Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, at the University of California, Davis.


• 1986 – PhD: University of Washington (Civil Engineering)
• 1983 – MA; University of Washington (Geography)
• 1983 – BSCE; University of Washington (Civil Engineering)
• 1979 – BA with honors; University of Delaware (Regional Planning and International Relations)

Selected Awards:

2016 – Distinguished Member, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
2016 – Tsuan Hua Feng Distinguished Lecture, University of Massachusetts - Amherst
2014 – Warren A. Hall Medal, Universities Council on Water Resources
2013 – David Todd Lecturer, Groundwater Resources Association of California
2013 – Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award, University of California, Davis
2011 – Julian Hinds Award, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
2008 – Hugo B. Fischer Award, California Water and Environmental Modeling Forum
2002 – International Water Academy, Member, #143
1996 – Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)



Acceptance Speech

lund300x300Honorable General Secretary, Your Royal Highness, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen:

It is a great honor to be awarded the 2020 Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz international prize for water management and protection. I am very thankful.

I thank King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for being the patron of the Awards Ceremony and his representative for attending the event.

I greatly appreciate His Royal Highness Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz founding this Prize, and is son Prince Khaled Bin Sultan’s continued support for the Prize.

I thank the jury, Prize Council, and General Secretary for this event and for recognizing this work.

Many students and colleagues around the globe have put so much into this work over several decades, and continue with this work. In the end, it is hard to know which ideas came from whom, but clearly this work would not have been as good or useful without many students, colleagues, collaborators, and support from taxpayers. This prize rests on many contributions.

I also thank my family, my wife, children, and parents, for making my efforts possible.

People need water, safe water, on time, and not too much of it. This makes effective water management fundamental for all societies, at any time in history and in any place.

Water is so fundamental that all aspects of any society are reflected in how they manage and use water. Problems in water management also reflect broader societal problems. It is no coincidence that societies that manage water problems well tend to be successful more broadly. Good water management is both a cause and effect of a successful society.

Water management supports four fundamental and mutually-reinforcing objectives of any society: Public health, economic prosperity, ecosystems, and social order. Public health is the most important single objective, where we have been historically successful globally, as seen in mortality statistics, although we still have far to go.

Most water management is for economic purposes such as irrigating crops, flood protection, navigation, hydropower, property values, industries, and commercial enterprises. Economic prosperity motivates most individuals and groups involved in water management and use, and supports any society’s ability to achieve other societal objectives.

As with all real problems, water problems are not the exclusive province of any single discipline.

Hydro-economic modeling formally combines representations of water and economics for understanding and improving water management. Among scholars, it bridges traditional physical and social sciences, particularly economics, engineering, and hydrology and benefits from the common historical and intellectual origins of these disciplines. Hydro-economic modeling forces a more explicit mathematical understanding of how environmental and human systems work together and can provide insights on how they can work better.

CALVIN is a hydro-economic model of California’s extensively inter-connected water supply system, with its diverse portfolio of water supply and demand management options in a hydrologically and economically dynamic region. This model has been orienting and insightful for a wide range of water supply problems, and an educational experience for water scholars and managers globally.

This modeling forced us to learn, appreciate, and integrate diverse economic, engineering, hydrologic, and policy knowledge in the context of a variety of urgent, persistent, and overlapping water management problems for California.

These experiences have shaped and informed scholars now applying these ideas globally, and shaped many studies which have helped shape water policies in California on water markets, infrastructure development, groundwater, environmental restoration, water conflicts, and regional and inter-regional water management generally.

Modeling is always imperfect, but provides a disciplined framework for integrating understanding of problems and exploring solutions. Such integration is hard work, somewhat facilitated by faster computers and the widespread acceptance of modeling in government agencies and academic fields, but still requires both higher-level and detail-oriented thinking. This integrated approach has many scholarly and practical benefits and continuing promise for local, regional, and global water problems as they evolve.

The hardest modeling problem for the future is, as always, human. How can the organization of decision-making and academic disciplines and practice be modified to better absorb and employ insights from more advanced and integrated representations of human knowledge, such as hydro-economic modeling?

The study of water management, the insights of hydro-economic modeling, and the many people I have worked with on this subject have been a tremendous source of insight, joy, and fun in my life. I am tremendously happy and gratified that others have found this work useful.

Thank you to all who have established and continue this prize and for honoring our work with it. I am very grateful.

Professor Jay R. Lund

Winning Work

[1] Hanak, E., J. Lund, A. Dinar, B. Gray, R. Howitt, J. Mount, P. Moyle, and B. Thompson, Managing California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, CA, 500 pp., February 2011.

[2] Knox, S., J. Tomlinson, J. Harou, P. Meier, D. Rosenberg, J. Lund, and D. Rheinheimer, “An open-source data manager for network models,” Environmental Modelling and Software, Vol. 122, Dec. 2019. 156.

[3] Pinter, N., J. Lund, and P. Moyle. “The California Water Model: Resilience through Failure,” Hydrological Processes, Vol. 22, Issue. 12, pp. 1775-1779, 2019.

[4] Hui, R., J. Herman, J. Lund, and K. Madani, “Adaptive Water Infrastructure Planning for Nonstationary Hydrology,” Advances in Water Resources, Vol 118, pp 83-94, August 2018.

[5] Hui, R., J.R. Lund, and K. Madani, “Game Theory and Risk-Based Levee System Design: The Cost of Non-cooperation,” Water Resources Research, Vol. 52, 10 January 2016.

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