Student working at the eco-machine.

Water Resources Research

Water resources is an important sub-discipline of civil engineering that includes hydraulic engineering, surface water and groundwater hydrology, water resources systems analysis, contaminant transport, and environmental fluid mechanics. Common to all of these areas of study is the goal of understanding the physical processes responsible for the distribution of water in natural and engineered environments. The main motivation is that, in a world of ever-increasing population and industrialization, our relationships with the water environment surrounding us are of increasing significance.

Our graduates go on to exciting and successful careers working for universities, consulting firms, local, state, and federal governmental agencies, and national research laboratories. 

Research in the Water Resources Engineering group covers a wide range of topics and uses a wide range of methodologies, from theoretical to experimental (lab and field), to computational. Detailed descriptions of research projects are found at individual faculty members' websites.  


Liu, X. (Principal Investigator), "Respiration in Hyporheic Zones: Connecting Mechanics, Microbial Biogeochemistry, and Models", UT Austin (U.S. Department of Energy). Total: $240,000.00. 09/2017 to 08/2020

Liu, X. (Principal Investigator), "Robust EcoHydraulic 3D Modeling Tools for Rivers with Complex Instream Structures", U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Total: $180,000.00. 05/2017 to 04/2020

Liu, X. (Principal Investigator), Qiu, T. (Co-Principal Investigator), "Three-Dimensional Computational Modeling of Turbulent Flow Field, Bed Morphodynamics and Liquefaction Adjacent to Munitions," Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, DOD, Total: $354,379.00. 08/2017 to 07/2020

Liu, X. (Principal Investigator), Mankoff, K. (Co-Principal Investigator), "Collaborative Research: Visualization, analysis, and HPC modeling of subglacial hydrology from high-resolution 3D conduit scans acquired with a novel sensor," NSF. Total: $272,356.00. 07/2015 to 06/2017 (no-cost extension to 2018).

Burgos, W. D. (Principal Investigator), Warner, N. R.. (Co-Principal Investigator), Liu, X. (Co-Principal Investigator), Drohan, P. J. (Co-Principal Investigator), Vanden Heuvel, J. P. (Co-Principal Investigator), and Dorman, F. L. (Co-Principal Investigator) Grant, "Impact of Oil & Gas Wastewater Disposal on Lake and River Sediments" NSF. Total requested: $330,000.00. 08/2017 to 07/2020

Liu, X (Principal Investigator), Johnson, P. A., Ferreri, C. P. “Nature-like Fish Passage Design for the York Haven Hydroelectric Dam”, Cube Hydro Partners, LLC, Total: $600,000. 09/2017 to 08/2020 (contract in negotiation).

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The Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, established in 1881, is internationally recognized for excellence in the preparation of undergraduate and graduate engineers through the integration of education, research, and leadership.

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

212 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-1408

Phone: 814-863-3084