Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering



Colorado State University Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence
Water for people and the planet:
Developing water resources systems and technology
to meet human needs in a globally sustainable environment


Our research strives to solve the global challenges of meeting the water needs of people and the environment. To do so, we use engineering and scientific principles, systems thinking, smart technologies, and integrated design and management, linking with communities and across disciplines.

Colorado State’s water resources programs began in frontier days with the urgent need to irrigate productive farms and create livable communities, with effective systems of water management for everyone. Our legacy of world-class work in fluid mechanics, hydraulics, hydrology, water quality and water resources planning and management enables us to build on the past while visioning the future for water engineering and science.

Committed to water scholarship and engagement, we confront a changing world of challenges to meet human needs, sustain ecological systems, and mitigate threats from natural hazards. The broad scopes and large scales of today’s problems require integrated approaches with cutting-edge data analytics, decision science, and management tools for complex infrastructure and institutions.

Our diverse technical capabilities, outstanding facilities and deep engagement in real-world problems create a dynamic and fertile environment for scholarship and engagement in addressing contemporary, water resources challenges; and position us to anticipate future global water needs and to create visionary and practical solutions to meet them.


Research focus subareas

Integrative Solutions for Water Problems

  • Smart technological and social water systems
  • Advanced data acquisition, analytics and risk analysis
  • Institutional analysis to support integrative solutions

Water Resources Planning and Management

  • Simulation and optimization models informed by valid science
  • Forecast-based and science based models
  • Comprehensive systems analysis and engineering

Hydrological Science and Ecological Systems

  • Hydrologic, atmospheric, and ecologic systems
  • Hydrologic, ecologic, and socio-economic systems
  • Hydrologic, atmospheric, and socio-economic systems

Environmental Fluid Mechanics

  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Flow visualization
  • Turbulence and mixing

River Mechanics

  • Erosion, sedimentation, river mechanics, stream restoration
  • Ecological and environmental flows
Water and International Development (WAID)

  • Sustainable solutions for basic human needs and environmental quality
  • Global water and sanitation
  • Human-centered engineering
  • Interactions between engineering, public health, social institutions, and economic prosperity

Groundwater Engineering

  • Aquifers, groundwater – surface water interactions
  • Wells and pumps

Water Infrastructure

  • Dam planning, analysis, security, removal
  • Water diversion, conveyance and control, buried pipelines
  • Hydromachinery

Agricultural Water Management

  • Crop evapotranspiration
  • Soil-water deficit modeling
  • Precision Irrigation
  • Irrigation and natural hydrologic systems

Urban Water Management