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Water Resources Research

Water resources is an important sub-discipline of civil engineering that includes hydraulic engineering, surface water and groundwater hydrology, water resources systems analysis, contaminant transport, and environmental fluid mechanics. Common to all of these areas of study is the goal of understanding the physical processes responsible for the distribution of water in natural and engineered environments. The main motivation is that, in a world of ever-increasing population and industrialization, our relationships with the water environment surrounding us are of increasing significance.

Our graduates go on to exciting and successful careers working for universities, consulting firms, local, state, and federal governmental agencies, and national research laboratories. 

Research in the Water Resources Engineering group covers a wide range of topics and uses a wide range of methodologies, from theoretical to experimental (lab and field), to computational. Detailed descriptions of research projects are found at individual faculty members' websites.  


Burgos, W. D. (Principal Investigator), Warner, N. R.. (Co-Principal Investigator), Liu, X. (Co-Principal Investigator), Drohan, P. J. (Co-Principal Investigator), Vanden Heuvel, J. P. (Co-Principal Investigator), and Dorman, F. L. (Co-Principal Investigator) Grant, "Impact of Oil & Gas Wastewater Disposal on Lake and River Sediments" NSF. Total requested: $330,000.00. 08/2017 to 07/2020

Liu, X. (Principal Investigator), "Respiration in Hyporheic Zones: Connecting Mechanics, Microbial Biogeochemistry, and Models", UT Austin (U.S. Department of Energy). Total: $240,000.00. 09/2017 to 08/2020

Liu, X. (Principal Investigator), "Robust EcoHydraulic 3D Modeling Tools for Rivers with Complex Instream Structures", U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Total: $180,000.00. 05/2017 to 04/2020

Liu, X. (Principal Investigator), Qiu, T. (Co-Principal Investigator), "Three-Dimensional Computational Modeling of Turbulent Flow Field, Bed Morphodynamics and Liquefaction Adjacent to Munitions," Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, DOD, Total: $354,379.00. 08/2017 to 07/2020

Liu, X. (Principal Investigator), Mankoff, K. (Co-Principal Investigator), "Collaborative Research: Visualization, analysis, and HPC modeling of subglacial hydrology from high-resolution 3D conduit scans acquired with a novel sensor," NSF. Total: $272,356.00. 07/2015 to 06/2017 (no-cost extension to 2018).

Liu, X (Principal Investigator), Johnson, P. A., Ferreri, C. P. “Nature-like Fish Passage Design for the York Haven Hydroelectric Dam”, Cube Hydro Partners, LLC, Total: $600,000. 09/2017 to 08/2020.

Mejia, A. (Co-Principal Investigator), Ruddell, B. (Principal Investigator), Konar, M. (Co-Principal Investigator), Gurney, K. (Principal Investigator), Hanemann, M. (Principal Investigator), Sabo, J. (Principal Investigator), Shutters, S. (Principal Investigator), Averyt, K. (Co-Principal Investigator), Baggio, J. (Co-Principal Investigator), Fargione, J. (Co-Principal Investigator), Lant, C. (Co-Principal Investigator), Richter, B. (Co-Principal Investigator), Troy, T. (Co-Principal Investigator). Sponsored Research, % Credit = 9%, "INFEWS/T1: Mesoscale Data Fusion to Map and Model the U.S. FEW system (INFEWSion)," NSF. Total awarded: $3,000,000.00. (Submitted: March 2016, Funded: September 2016 - September 2019).

Mejia, A. (Principal Investigator). Sponsored Research, % Credit = 100%, "Toward Improved Predictability of Subseasonal to Seasonal Streamflow in Pennsylvania," Pennsylvania Water Resources Research Center. Total awarded: $20,000.00. (Submitted: 2016, Funded: May 2017 - April 2018).

Mejia, A. (Principal Investigator), Duffy, C. (Co-Principal Investigator). Sponsored Research, % Credit = 98%, "Understanding and improving the full hydrometeorological forecasting chain using multimodel ensembles," NOAA. Total awarded: $291,189.00. (Submitted: October 2013, Funded: May 2014 - April 2018).

Mejia, A. (Co-Principal Investigator), Shaby, B. (Principal Investigator). Sponsored Research, % Credit = 9%, "Development and evaluation of a statistical model for non-stationary precipitation frequency estimates with NOAA Atlas 14," UCAR, Nonprofit Foundations. Total awarded: $114,014.00. (Submitted: October 2016, Funded: January 2017 - December 2017).

Mejia, A. (Principal Investigator), Shaby, B. (Co-Principal Investigator). Sponsored Research, % Credit = 20%, "Development of non-stationary methods for addressing climate change effects on NOAA Atlas 14 precipitation frequency estimates," UCAR COMET, Nonprofit Foundations. Total awarded: $15,000.00. (Submitted: October 2015, Funded: December 2015 - August 2017).

Mejia, A. (Principal Investigator). Sponsored Research, % Credit = 100%, "Probabilistic characterization of streamflows in urbanizing basins in Pennsylvania under climate change scenarios," Pennsylvania Sea Grant. Total awarded: $20,000.00. (Submitted: 2012, Funded: January 2013 - March 2014).

Shen, C. (Principal Investigator), Melack, J. M. (Co-Principal Investigator), Riley, W. J. (Co-Principal Investigator), Sponsored Research, "Scale-aware, improved hydrological and biogeochemical simulations of the Amazon under a changing climate," Department of Energy. Total awarded: $976,498.00. (September 2013 - August 2018).

Shen, C. (Principal Investigator), Kifer, D. (Co-Principal Investigator), Seed Grant. "Predicting continental-scale hydraulic geometry changes using big data, land surface hydrologic modeling and deep neural networks," Penn State College of Engineering. Total awarded: $25,000.00. (January 2016 - December 2016).

Shen, C. (Principal Investigator), Sponsored Research, "Evaluating the impact of renewable energy plants water use on groundwater resources in the Chuckwalla Basin, CA," Bureau of Land Management and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Total awarded: $195,100.00. (funded: December 2014 - December 2016).

Shen, C. (co-PI), Sponsored Research, "An Integrated Evaluation of the Simulated Hydroclimate System of the Continental US,", led by Paul Ullrich, UC Davis, US Department of Energy, Federal Agencies. Total requested: $367,365.00. (2016-2019).

Shortle, J. S. (Principal Investigator), Abler, D. G., Shen, C. (Co-Principal Investigator), Mc Dill, M. E., Ready, R. C., Wardrop, D. H., Knight, P. G., Blumsack, S. A., Najjar, R., Kemanian, A. R., Sponsored Research, "2014 PA Climate Change Impacts Update," PA Department of Environmental Protection, State. Total awarded: $98,326.00. (August 2014 - May 2015). 9% to Shen.

Other Water Resources research projects include:

  • Mekong River network analyses
  • Watershed vulnerability modeling
  • Water quality testing and social behavior trends in international water and sanitation projects
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The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084