David Watkins

David Watkins


Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

  • PhD, Civil Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
  • MS, Environmental Health Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin
  • BS, Civil Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis
  • BS, Engineering and Public Policy, Washington University in St. Louis


Dr. Watkins' teaching interests include hydrologic and hydraulic engineering, water and environmental systems analysis, and international service learning. He serves as a faculty advisor to the Michigan Tech student chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA and co-coordinator of the Peace Corps Master’s International Program in civil and environmental engineering. He also directs an international capstone design program in Panama. Dr. Watkins’ research interests include sustainable development and the application of decision theory and information technology to environmental and water resources problems in both the developing and industrialized world. His current research projects include robust water resources decision making in south Florida, seasonal drought forecasting and management in central Texas, and integrated Clean Water Act planning in northeast Ohio. Dr. Watkins is active in the ASCE/EWRI Environmental & Water Resources Systems and Operations Management technical committees, and he has served as chair of the ASCE/EWRI International Council.

Links of Interest

Teaching Interests

  • Water resources planning and management
  • Environmental systems analysis
  • Hydrologic and hydraulic engineering
  • Optimization methods
  • Learning through service

Research Interests

  • Integrated water resources planning
  • Use of seasonal hydroclimatic forecasts
  • Climate change risk assessment
  • Robust decision-making
  • System dynamics modeling


  • Watkins D., Moraes M., Asbjornsen H., Mayer A., Licata J., Gutierrez J., Pypker T., Molina V., Marques G., Carneiro A., Nuñez H., Önal H., Germano B. (2015). “Bioenergy Development Policy and Practice Must Recognize Potential Hydrologic Impacts: Lessons from the Americas,” Environmental Management, doi: 10.1007/s00267-015-0460-x.
  • Wang Z., H. Song, D.W. Watkins, K.G. Ong, P. Xue, Q. Yang, and X. Shi (2015). ‘”Cyber-Physical Systems for Water Sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities,” IEEE Communications Magazine, 53(5), 216–222.
  • Gyawali R., V.W. Griffis, D.W. Watkins Jr., and N.M. Fennessey (2015). “Regional Regression Models for Hydro-climate Change Impact Assessment,” Hydrological Processes, 29(8), 1972–1985, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10312.
  • Gyawali, R., D.W. Watkins Jr., V.W. Griffis, and B.F. Lofgren (2014). “Energy budget considerations for hydro-climatic impact assessment in Great Lakes watersheds,” Journal of Great Lakes Research, 40(4): 940–948, doi: 10.1016/j.jglr.2014.09.005.
  • Mirchi, A., D.W. Watkins Jr., C.J. Huckins, K. Madani, and P. Hjorth (2014). “Water Resources Management in a Homogenizing World: Averting the Growth and Underinvestment Trajectory,” Water Resources Research, 50, doi:10.1002/2013WR015128.
  • Ilorme, F., V.W. Griffis, and D.W. Watkins Jr. (2014). “Regional Rainfall Frequency and Ungaged Basin Analysis for Flood Risk Assessment in Haiti,” Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 19(1), 123–132.
  • Ray, P.A., D.W. Watkins Jr., R.M. Vogel, and P.H. Kirshen (2014). “A Performance-Based Evaluation of an Improved Robust Optimization Formulation,” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 140(6), 04014006, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000389.
  • Lofgren, B.M., A.D. Gronewold, A. Acciaioli, J. Cherry, A. Steiner, and D. Watkins (2013). “Methodological Approaches to Projecting the Hydrologic Impacts of Climate Change,” Earth Interactions, 17, 1–19, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2013EI000532.1.
  • Etkin, D., P. Kirshen, D. Watkins, G. Hoogenboom, M. Roncoli, et al. (2013). “Stochastic Programming for Improved Multi-Use Reservoir Operation in Burkina Faso, West Africa,” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000396.
  • Fry, L.M., D.W. Watkins Jr., N. Reents, M.D. Rowe, and J.R. Mihelcic (2012). “Climate Change and Development Impacts on the Sustainability of Spring-fed Water Supply Systems in the Alto Beni Region of Bolivia,” Journal of Hydrology, 468-469: 120-129.
  • Mellor, J.E., D.W. Watkins Jr., and J.R. Mihelcic (2012). “Rural Water Usage in East Africa: Does Collection Effort Really Impact Basic Access?” Waterlines, 31(3).
  • Mirchi, A., K. Madani, D.W. Watkins Jr., and S. Ahmad (2012). “Synthesis of System Dynamics Tools for Holistic Conceptualization of Water Resources Problems,” Water Resources Management, 26(9), 2421-2442, doi: 10.1007/s11269-012-0024-2.
  • Wei, W., and D.W. Watkins Jr. “Data Mining Methods for Hydroclimatic Forecasting,” Advances in Water Resources, 34: 1390–1400, doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2011.08.001, 2011.
  • Ray, P.A., P.K. Kirshen, and D.W. Watkins Jr., “Stochastic Programming for Staged Climate Change Adaptation Planning for Amman, Jordan,” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, in press, 2011.
  • Hallack-Alegria, M., J. Ramirez-Hernandez, and D.W. Watkins Jr., “ENSO-Conditioned Rainfall Drought Frequency Analysis in Northwest Baja California, Mexico,” International Journal of Climatology, doi: 10.1002/joc.2310, 2011.
  • Thode, A., K. Landick, K. Paterson, and D. Watkins, “Analyzing Methods to Achieve Successful Development,” International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, 6(1): 95-105, 2011.
  • Munoz Hernandez, A., A.S. Mayer, and D.W. Watkins, Jr. “Integrated Hydrologic-Economic-Institutional Model of Environmental Flow Strategies for the Rio Yaqui Basin, Sonora, Mexico,” J. Water Resources Planning & Mgmt., 137(2): 227-237, 2011.
  • Wei, W., and D.W. Watkins, Jr. “Probabilistic Streamflow Forecasts Based on Hydrologic Persistence and Large-Scale Climate Signals in Central Texas,” Journal of Hydroinformatics, in press, doi:10.2166/hydro.2010.133, 2011.
  • Fry, L., J. Cowden, D. Watkins, T. Clasen, and J. Mihelcic, “Quantifying Health Improvements from Water Quantity Enhancement: An Engineering Perspective Applied to Rainwater Harvesting in West Africa,” Environmental Science & Technology, 44(24): 9535-9541, 2010.