headshot of Neil Grigg

Neil S. Grigg, Ph.D., P.E., BC.WRE (Ret.), Dist.M.ASCE, a professor of civil engineering at Colorado State University, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2024 class of distinguished members for his extraordinary contributions in water resources management, integrating physical, statistical, economic, social, legal, and political factors to solve complex problems; sharing his knowledge through publishing seminar papers and books; technology transfer; and mentoring colleagues as well as students around the world.

Grigg is world-renowned as a public official, consulting engineer, and scholar, one who has made significant and lasting contributions in the areas of water resources management and institutions, water rights, water supplies, state water planning, water law policy and regulation, infrastructure development, and water security. His outstanding and influential career is reflected in his 1977 appointment as director of the University of North Carolina Water Resources Research Institute, where he administered a program and directed projects involving 16 universities.  

In 1979 he became the North Carolina Assistant Secretary for Natural Resources and director of environmental management. It was during this time that he spearheaded efforts to create both the Office of Water Resources and the Division of Water Resources and had responsibility for permitting programs for which he enforced compliance by cities and their industries. This role, which beneficially impacted both river basin water quality and quantity, resulted in his being given the 1981 Governor’s Award for Environmental Protection. 

A decade after this, Grigg was director of the Colorado Water Resources Institute and then was appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court as river master for the Pecos River, a role he has held for 34 years. He has taken on tough assignments, including participation in controversial negotiations on use of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River System, and on the Yadkin and Pee Dee Rivers. His projects have also taken him to Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with whom he had served before, sought his expertise regarding its response to the Missouri Flood of 2011. He has provided expert-witness testimony on several additional cases.

Grigg’s books in the field amount to 15, with approximately 350 total publications since 1965.

In 1997, he received the Donald Stone Education Award of the American Public Works Association. Following more honors from academic institutions, he was recognized with ASCE/EWRI’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2016) and an honorary doctorate in management (2020, GERENS, Peru).

As a professor at CSU, Grigg has mentored more than 50 students, some of whom now hold important industry positions.