ASCE has honored Upmanu Lall, Ph.D., M.ASCE, with the 2023 Ven Te Chow Award for pioneering contributions to the understanding and prediction of hydroclimatic extremes, innovations in statistical methods and water resources management techniques, and advancing risk management, hydromorphology, and hydroclimatology.
Lall has long been a leader in hydrologic science and engineering. His contributions span a broad range of areas encompassing stochastic hydrology, hydromorphology, hydroclimatology, risk analyses, climate variability and change, hydrologic extremes, optimization methods, water resources systems, water security and sustainability, groundwater, and food-water-energy nexus. His recent groundbreaking work on the importance of atmospheric rivers and organized planetary-scale moisture transport for floods and droughts, as well as the role of government intervention, subsidy, and procurement programs for agriculture on groundwater depletion, has attracted much attention. He also developed a novel nonparametric copula for risk analysis with multivariate dependence which can be applied to space-time variations in extremes to assess regional aggregate risk. Using Bayesian and Hidden Markov methods for the reconstruction of paleo streamflow, he provided a new paradigm.
Lall is regarded as the foremost authority on hydrologic predictability. He is one of the first to demonstrate the importance of large-scale climate drivers and their teleconnections to hydrologic interannual variability. He has addressed water management problems in several countries by integrating economic and policy approaches with technological solutions. He has developed the America Water Initiative at Columbia Water Center, which focuses on building a network of academic institutions, government agencies, and private industry to address water challenges due to aging infrastructure and critical issues such as water quality violations and groundwater depletion because of pumping.
Established in 1995, the Ven Te Chow Award recognizes individuals whose lifetime achievements in the field of hydrologic engineering have been distinguished by exceptional achievement and significant contributions in research, education, or practice.