Robert B. Sowby, Ph.D., P.E., M.ASCE, ENV SP

Rob SowbyCombining research and consulting experience, Dr. Rob Sowby has contributed to over 200 civil engineering projects throughout North America. He is a water resources engineer with particular expertise in hydroinformatics, the water–energy nexus, hydraulic modeling, geospatial analysis, and infrastructure planning. With strong writing and presentation skills, Dr. Sowby has published and lectured nationally on these and other topics. He studied civil and environmental engineering at Brigham Young University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Utah. Dr. Sowby’s other interests include classical music, mountaineering, business, German literature, and travel (50 states + 27 countries and counting).


Professional Experience

Hansen, Allen & Luce, Inc. (present)
Water Resources Engineer

Salt Lake Community College
Adjunct Faculty, Natural Sciences

Brigham Young University
Research Assistant, Hydrology

Applied Geotechnical Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Laboratory Technician


University of Utah
Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Urban Water Group
Dissertation: “New Techniques to Analyze Energy Use and Inform Sustainable Planning, Design, and Operation of Public Water Systems

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.Eng., Civil and Environmental Engineering
Thesis: “Hydrologic and Hydraulic Assessment of Artificial Recharge in the Sparta Aquifer of Union County, Arkansas”

Harvard University
Graduate studies, environmental and ecological sciences

Brigham Young University
B.S., Civil Engineering
B.A., German Studies (secondary major)
Minor, Mathematics

Selected Publications

Learn to Launch: A Guide to Starting New Projects
Book, 2017

High-Resolution Energy Intensity Modeling to Improve Water Distribution System Performance
Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment (in press)

Water is a Finite Resource, with Hidden Energy Savings Floating Just Below the Surface
ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Industry

Energy Management Program Leads to Operational Improvements
Opflow, May 2019

Discussion of “Leakage Control and Energy Recovery Using Variable Speed Pumps as Turbines”
Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, June 2019

Data Challenges and Solutions in Energy-for-Water: Experience of Two Recent Studies
Journal AWWA, February 2019

Conformance of Public Water Use Data to Benford’s Law
Journal AWWA, December 2018

Correlation of Energy Management Policies with Lower Energy Use in Public Water Systems
Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, November 2018

Statistical Model and Benchmarking Procedure for Energy Use by US Public Water Systems
Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment, November 2018

Comparison of Operational Energy Requirements in Publicly and Privately Owned U.S. Water Utilities
Utilities Policy, October 2018

Discussion of “Systems Analysis and Optimization of Local Water Supplies in Los Angeles”
Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, July 2018

Jordan Valley Water Redefines Sustainable Water Supply Through Energy Management
Journal AWWA, October 2017

Survey of Energy Requirements for Public Water Supply in the United States
Journal AWWA, July 2017
Accompanying dataset: Energy Intensity Data for Public Water Supply in the United States

Hydraulic Modeling Finds, Fixes Chlorine Residual Gaps
Opflow, June 2017

Energy Management in the Water Sector: A Major Sustainability Opportunity
ECWS-1, November 2016

Drought-Proof Design: Desalination Offers Alternative Water Supply
Water Efficiency, November/December 2015

Logan, Utah: A Case Study in Water and Energy Efficiency
Journal AWWA, August 2015

Rethinking Stream Crossings for Humans and Animals: Four Examples from New England
NEWEA Journal, Summer 2015

Water System Optimization: Aligning Energy Efficiency, System Performance, and Water Quality
Journal AWWA, June 2014

The Urban Water Cycle: Sustaining Our Modern Cities
National Geographic Water Currents, March 2014

Selected Presentations

“Water–Energy Nexus Challenges and Opportunities in SDG 6 (Clean Water),” United Nations 68th Civil Society Conference, 2019

“Energy Management Experience of 50 Water Utilities,” World Environmental & Water Resources Congress and AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition, 2019

“Improving Water System Sustainability through Energy Management,” invited lecture, Utah State University, 2019

“Improving Water System Sustainability through Energy Management,” AWWA California-Nevada Section, 2018

“Cut to the Chase: Efficient and Effective Writing on the Job,” APWA Utah, 2018

“Energy Performance Metrics for Public Water Systems,” AWWA Intermountain Section and APWA Utah, 2018

“High-Resolution Energy Intensity Modeling to Improve Water Distribution System Performance,” World Environmental & Water Resources Congress, 2018

“Energy Management Tools and Practices for Water Utilities,” invited lecture, Utah Division of Drinking Water, 2018

“Energy Requirements for Public Water Services in the United States,” World Environmental & Water Resources Congress, 2017

“Energy and Public Water Supply,” invited lecture, University of Utah, 2017

“Public Water Supply: How Much Energy Does It Take?” invited lecture, Spatio-Temporal Isotope Analytics Lab, University of Utah, 2017

“Public Water Supply: How Much Energy Does It Take?” invited lecture, Geofluids Seminar, Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES), 2016

“Water Resources Engineering: A 21st Century Challenge,” invited lecture, Salt Lake Community College, 2015


American Society of Civil Engineers
American Water Works Association
National Geographic Society
Utah Geographic Information Council


Professional Engineer: Utah, Massachusetts

Envision Sustainability Professional (ENV SP)