WEST Senior Technical Advisor David Curtis Receives AWRA David R. Maidment Award for Exemplary Contributions to Water Resources Data

Please join us in congratulating David C. Curtis, PhD, F.EWRI, Senior Technical Advisor at WEST, for being presented the 2024 David R. Maidment Award for Exemplary Contributions to Water Resources Data from the American Water Resources Association (AWRA). The David R. Maidment Award recognizes those who contribute prominently to the provision of data, or its analysis, in describing the nation’s waters. The award honors David Maidment’s many contributions to the field and AWRA’s mission.

Dr. Curtis was recognized for contributions spanning more than 50 years. Since 1975, Dr. Curtis has focused on the acquisition and processing of high-quality point and spatially-distributed data serving a broad spectrum of water resources applications. Dr. Curtis has been on the leading edge of technology development for rainfall and river measurement and applications worldwide. He was at the forefront of the development, implementation, and operation of hardware and software for automated data acquisition systems supporting river forecasting, reservoir operations, and water management.

Dr. Curtis pioneered the market for commercial applications of Gage-Adjusted Radar Rainfall products in the U.S. He led the development of innovative techniques to operationally link continuous soil moisture accounting models like the NWS National Water Model with event-based models to improve reservoir operations. He has been actively involved in projects to improve the integration of climate change in local decision-making. Dr. Curtis is now supporting two statewide projects leveraging spatially distributed rainfall data to reimagine design storm standards for water infrastructure design. Most recently, he initiated a new multi-year project to evaluate the impact of atmospheric rivers on extreme precipitation and estimates of probable maximum precipitation.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of Dr. Curtis’ innovative contributions to the profession is that they were mostly accomplished from private sector platforms. Time and again, his clear vision captured the attention of forward-thinking clients who saw the benefits of an accelerated research-to-operations cycle.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Curtis expressed his gratitude to his teachers, mentors, colleagues, mentees, and AWRA. He also emphasized how quickly the field is changing:

“I’ve done 5 or 6 different things in my career where those parts of the profession didn’t even exist the day I walked off the campus of the Pennsylvania State University in 1972. You need to be open to and dedicated to lifelong learning.”

Learn More:

Established in 1964, the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) is the preeminent multidisciplinary association for information exchange, professional development, and education about water resources and related issues. For more information on AWRA and the David R. Maidment Award, visit the website here.

To read more about Dr. Curtis’ career, see his page here.

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