Robert B. Sowby

Rob Sowby

Water could be the defining challenge of the 21st century. To solve this and other interdependent challenges, we must think globally and act locally with innovative, interdisciplinary approaches.

I’m passionate about water—the lifeblood of the earth. My engineering experience includes over 100 projects in hydrology, hydraulics, mapping, infrastructure design, litigation, modeling, hydroinformatics, and urban water cycles. I studied at Brigham Young University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard University and am now a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah focusing on the water–energy nexus. At Hansen, Allen & Luce in Salt Lake City, I consult on a variety of water projects throughout the Intermountain West.

I write on water, environment, and business issues and contribute to the Wasatch Water Review. I have also been involved in web development, software development, freelance business writing, and service for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My other interests include business, geoscience, classical music, travel (50 states + 27 countries and counting), German literature, education, and mountaineering.

Thanks for visiting. Please feel free to contact me at rsowby@gmail.com.


Recent Posts


Learn to Launch: A Guide to Starting New Projects

My new book, Learn to Launch, is now for sale. The product of years of experience across hundreds of projects, Learn to Launch introduces the three launch engines so critical to successful beginnings: a vision, a team, and a plan. Available now on Lulu and soon on Amazon.


Survey of Energy Requirements for Public Water Supply in the United States

National studies on drinking water systems’ energy requirements are sparse, and only limited empirical data have been available. This study adds considerable spatial and temporal detail to better characterize the requirements in the continental United States. Annual water use and energy use observations were collected from a panel of 109 water systems.


Drought in the Colorado River Basin: Insights using open data

Since 2000, a prolonged drought in the Colorado River Basin has impacted regional water supply, hydropower, recreation, and ecosystems. This application by the U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation uses open data to explore the 16-year drought and its effects.


The United States, in Legos

My tactile geographic puzzle measures approximately 27.0 inches by 13.5 inches and contains some 1,000 bricks in 2 primary layers. It depicts 50 states in 6 colors.


The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D.

Matt Might's down-to-earth description of what a Ph.D. really means.


How Salt Lake City’s water use varies in time and space

Now that more than half of Earth’s residents live in cities, understanding the timing, location and magnitude of water uses at sub-city scales is becoming more important for managing water resources and planning the associated infrastructure.

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