David Watkins

David Watkins


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  • 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 River Basin, Planning, Policy & Operations technical committees, and he has served as chair of the ASCE/EWRI International Council.  He currently serves as Chief Editor of the ASCE Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management.

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.