Water Management & Protection Prize


psipw5thwinnersteam 4web 4Dr. Daniel P. Loucks (Cornell University, USA).

Dr. Loucks has developed and implemented systems tools that provide an effective, dynamic, and successful framework to address practical water resources management problems worldwide. His work examines the interplay between environmental stress, stakeholder participation processes and hydrological systems.

Decision makers in numerous countries, including developing nations, have been trained and influenced by Dr. Loucks’ approach to water resources planning. This is precisely why he is known as the “father of the systems approach to water resources management”.

Winner Profile

Dr. Daniel P. Loucks is Professor Emeritus in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University.


• Ph.D. 1965; Cornell University, Sanitary Engineering & Water Resources Systems Engineering.
• M.S. 1955; Yale university, Forestry. • B.S. 1954; Pennsylvania State University, Forestry.

Selected Awards:

2013: Honorary Diplomate of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers
2012: Quentin Martin Best Practice Oriented Paper (with S. Sandoval-Solis and D.C. McKinney), ASCE
2010: EWRI (ASCE) Lifetime Achievement Award
2008: Biennial Medal of the International Environmental Modeling and Software Society
2005: Grand Prix International de Cannes, de l'Eau
2000: Warren A. Hall Medal, Universities Council on Water Resources
1999: Distinguished Lecture Award, National Science Council, Taiwan
1998: Commander's Award for Public Service, US Army Corps of Engineers
1992: U.S. Senior Scientist Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany
1991: Joe Wyatt Challenge (EDUCOM) Award for "Interactive River System Simulation" software
1990: Distinguished Lecture Award, National Science Council, Taiwan
1986: Julian Hinds Award, American Society of Civil Engineers
1981: US Navy Commendation Medal
1975: Fulbright-Hayes Award for Lecturing and Research, Yugoslavia
1970: Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, ASCE


Acceptance Speech

It’s been a while since I have had the opportunity to visit the UN let alone give a short talk to any of its members and guests. In the late 60’s the UN sent me to Poland to do some work with Polish scientists, engineers and politicians on water management. I’ve been forever grateful for that unique experience and opportunity. It was an excellent start on my career in water resources management. It was also an opportunity for me to see how things worked on the other side of the iron curtain. What I learned on that assignment, and subsequently many others in various Eastern Europe countries and the USSR, is that how things worked over there were not much different than how things work on this side of the curtain even if the political systems differed. People are driven by the same incentives, no matter where and under what regime they live, it seems.

Now I’m here again at the UN thanks to the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz prize committee, and indeed I’m very honored and humbled to have been selected for their management award. Why humbled? I am humbled because whoever receives such a prestigious award, many others are deserving of it. I’ve had the good fortune to work with many of these smart, creative, dedicated and deserving individuals and for that I am also thankful. They have done their best to keep me educated and honest.

I’ve also been fortunate to have worked in a number of Middle East countries over my career. But I’ve been to Riyadh only once and that was quite a while ago. I remember paying about $20 (then) for a beef hamburger there. Maybe it’s because it takes over 2400 liters of water to produce a hamburger. We all know water is a vitally important and scarce resource in that region of the world. It’s obviously important everywhere, as everyone in this world is now recognizing, but especially in regions that are dry. And that characterizes the Middle East. We can only assume that if water was both more available and managed more effectively, we would have less conflict.

Those of us in my profession who have been working on water management issues are leaving plenty of work for those who follow us. Why: Because management involves much more than just planning, designing, building and operating engineering infrastructure or even implementing economic measures. It involves meeting the multiple needs of people, all involving water use, and the priorities of those needs are not always the same. Furthermore, they change. Hence it involves politics. And that is exactly why some consider water management a constant challenge, having to continually adapt to not only changing and uncertain climates but also to changing social and environmental conditions and goals, many of which are conflicting and unpredictable. It’s not just that we find it hard to predict the probabilities of possible future outcomes of management decisions, we find it hard to predict what the outcomes and subsequent human responses will be. We often are surprised by these outcomes and responses that we were not smart enough to predict. Hence the emphasis on defining management policies that are adaptive, robust, and resilient, all terms you have heard of even in the popular press.

I have to say I’ve really enjoyed being a participant in this adventure focused on discovering and implementing ways of managing water better, and especially trying to help others to do the same. And to receive an award such as this one to do what is still so much fun, makes it even more enjoyable. Thank you, Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz, for establishing this prize and indeed for honoring me with one of them. I am indeed grateful.

Daniel P. Loucks

Winning Work

1. Daniel P. Loucks and E. van Beek. Water Resources Systems Planning and Management: An Introduction to Methods, Models, and Applications UNESCO Publishing, Paris, France (2005).

2. Gemma Carr, Günter Blöschl, Daniel P. Loucks. “Developing a dynamic framework to examine the interplay between environmental stress, stakeholder participation processes and hydrological systems” Evolving Water Resource Systems: Understanding, Predicting and Managing Water-Society Interactions (ed. A. Castellarin, S. Ceola, E. Toth, A. Montanari), IAHS Publication 364, Proceedings of ICWRS2014, Bologna, Italy (June 2014), pp. 326-332.

3. Daniel P. Loucks, Thomas B. Wild, George W. Annandale, Prakash Kaini. “Maintaining Sediment Flows through Hydropower Dams in the Mekong River Basin” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, volume 142, issue 1 (9 July 2015).

4. William J. Cosgrove, Daniel P. Loucks. “Water management: Current and future challenges and research directions” Journal of Water Resources Research, volume 51, issue 6 (June 2015), pp. 4823–4839.

5. Warren E. Walker, Gemma Carr, Daniel P. Loucks. “Social Responses to Water Management Decisions” Environmental Processes, volume 2, issue 3 (2015), pp. 485-509.


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