Surface Water Prize


mohamed_khayet_souhaimiDr. Larry W. Mays (Arizona State University).

The prize is awarded to Dr. Mays for comprehensive work in surface water hydrology and water resources engineering, culminating in three leading and innovative textbooks in the field and the development of optimization models in practical hydrology for current problems, including real-time optimal dam release during flood conditions and watershed development in urban areas.

The books by Mays, with their breadth, depth and broad relevance, have made a unique and tangible contribution to water resources engineering and the management of water resources throughout the world.

His books include Ancient Water Technologies (2010), Ground and Surface Water Hydrology (2012), and Integrated Urban Water Management: Arid and Semi-Arid Regions (2008). One of his most unique contributions is to demonstrate how ancient water technologies can be applied today to manage water resources in concentrated urban areas and alleviate many present-day sustainability problems.

Winner Profile

Dr. Larry W. Mays is Professor for the Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable Engineering Group, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University, Tempe.


• Ph.D. 1976; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Civil Engineering
• M.S. 1971; University of Missouri at Rolla, Civil Engineering.
• B.Sc. 1970; University of Missouri at Rolla, Civil Engineering.

Selected Awards:

2002: Association of American Publishers PSP Award
1999: Distinguished Alumnus Award, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
1993: Quentin Mees Research Award, Arizona Water and Pollution Control Association.
1992: Engineer of the Year in Education Award, Arizona Society of Professional Engineers.
1989: Certificate of Commendation for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Water Resources, National Association of Water Institute Directors and the National Association of State University and Land Grant Colleges.

Acceptance Speech

I am deeply honoured to receive the prestigious Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water – The Surface Water Prize. I am very thankful to HRH Prince Khaled Bin Sultan Bin Abdulaziz and his council for selecting me for this prize and to be able to be here this evening to accept this honor.

I deeply feel that my 39 years of university research and teaching efforts in the areas of water resources engineering and hydrology has paid off with this great honor.

A large part of my original research over the years was focused on water resources and surface water hydrology, especially for urban stormwater systems, using optimization and risk/reliability procedures, for the design and operation of these systems.

I have also developed optimization/simulation models for the real-time operation of river-reservoir systems, particularly under flooding conditions. My efforts over the years in optimization and risk/reliability for hydrologic analysis, eventually moved my research efforts into water resources sustainability issues.

My work in surface water hydrology and water resources has culminated in several reference and textbooks that I have authored or edited over the years. Three of my more recent books were noted as part of my efforts for this recognition tonight.

The book, Integrated Urban Water Management in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions, was the result of my volunteer work for the United Nations UNESCO-IHP Program. This book was one of the main outputs of the Integrated Urban Water Management in Specific Climates project of UNESCO-IHP.

The second book, Ground and Surface Water Hydrology, was a result of my 38 years of university teaching of hydrology and water resources engineering. So basically this is a result of my love for teaching hydrology. A rigorous, unified, numerical, and analytical approach is used throughout the book bringing together a balance between theory and application.

I recognized years ago that developing nations in arid regions in the world, with a fast growing population and limited economic resources need special attention. One of my most prized efforts has been the work that I have initiated in the study of ancient water technologies and traditional knowledge specifically in arid and semi-arid regions, within the framework of water resources sustainability for the present and the future.

The third book, Ancient Water Technologies is a result of my interests in studying ancient water technologies as one the methodologies (traditional knowledge) for solving water resources sustainability problems, especially in developing parts of the world. Poor water management hurts the poor the most and some solutions will certainly be found in traditional knowledge through techniques that have been around for millennia More recently I co-edited the new book, Evolution of Water Supply through the Millennia, published by the International Water Association.

This is a grand moment for me with the feeling that my life’s journey in education, research and writing in water resources and hydrology has definitely been a work of love for me which has led to my interest in water resources sustainability particularly in developing parts of the world.

The Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water provides visibility to the important problems associated with water sustainability issues around the world and will promote innovative solutions for our future of water sustainability particularly in developing parts of the world. I applaud and thank the organizers of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water, the Prize Council, and His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz himself, for this extraordinary recognition of my work.

Larry W. Mays

Winning Work

1. L.W. Mays, Editor-in-Chief, Ancient Water Technologies. 2010. Springer. The Netherlands.

2. L.W. Mays. Ground and Surface Water Hydrology. 2012. John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

3. L.W. Mays, Editor-in-Chief. Integrated Urban Water Management in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions. 2009.UNESCO-IHP. Taylor and Francis. London.

4. Ahmed, E-S.M.S. and L.W. Mays. 2013. "Model for Real-Time Optimal Dam Releases during Flooding Conditions." Natural Hazards, Springer Vol. 65, 1849-1861, 2013.DOI 10.1007/s11069-012-0444-6.

5. Chill, J. and L.W. Mays. 2013. "Determination of the Optimal Location for Developments to Minimize Detention Requirements", Water Resources Management, 27(15), 5089-5100.

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