Dr. Ralph Wurbs, a senior professor in the Zachry Department of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University and a former associate director of engineering for Texas Water Resources Institute, was recently selected as the first American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE) Outstanding Research and Innovation Award recipient.
Founded in 2004 in affiliation with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), AAWRE strives to advance the leadership and societal impact of water resources engineering through certification, continuing education and ethical practice. This new award, introduced in 2018, recognizes significant contributions in advancing the field of water resources engineering through innovative research and development.
Wurbs is a fellow and life member of ASCE, an AAWRE founding Diplomate (2004) and was awarded the distinction of AAWRE Honorary Diplomate in 2014. He was selected for the 2019 award for his research, creation and continuous expansion of the Water Rights Analysis Package (WRAP) Modeling System and its implementation in the Texas Water Availability Modeling System.
WRAP, an elaborate set of computer simulation tools, analyzes and assesses capabilities of river and reservoir systems in meeting water supply, hydroelectric power, environmental flow, flood control and reservoir storage needs. Since 1996, Wurbs and his graduate students have been continually expanding WRAP modeling and analysis capabilities in order to provide vital tools for the water resources management community of Texas.
In doing so, WRAP has played a fundamental role in major legislatively mandated advances in water management and planning in the state over the past 15 years. These include analytical support for administration of the water rights permit system, statewide and regional planning, integrating environmental flow standards in comprehensive water management and improved operational planning for drought management.