Fargo, North Dakota – The North Dakota Water Resources Research Institute has named Eakalak Khan as director of the Institute, effective March 1. He will succeed G. Padmanabhan who served as long-time director of the organization.
Padmanabhan, civil and environmental engineering professor at North Dakota State University, has served as director of the Institute since 1999. Khan, professor of civil and environmental engineering at NDSU, has long been a proponent of the importance of water research.
The North Dakota Water Resources Research Institute was founded in 1965 by Congress as one of 54 Institutes throughout the nation and is administered through the United States Geological Survey. Through collaborative efforts of North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota, and other organizations, the Institute’s fellowship program promotes the education and training of water resources research professionals attending the state’s universities, as well as other related research activities.
“We greatly appreciate Dr. Padmanabhan’s dedicated service to the organization, overseeing research activities and student research involvement on the important subject of water resources to citizens of our state,” said Kelly A. Rusch, vice president for research and creative activity at NDSU. “We also look forward to the continued research excellence brought by Dr. Khan to extend the research impacts of the Institute.”
Through its activities, the North Dakota Water Resources Research Institute facilitates research that prepares new scientists in the water resources field; trains future water resources scientists, engineers, and technicians; facilitates preliminary exploration of new ideas that address water problems or that expand understanding of water and water-related phenomena; and provides research results to water managers and the public.
The director manages the Institute program with a State Advisory Committee consisting of three members representing the three principal water agencies in North Dakota: State Water Commission, North Dakota Department of Health, and the USGS North Dakota District. The Institute's office is located in the College of Engineering at North Dakota State University (NDSU), a student-focused, land grant, research university.
Members serving on the Review Panel for the North Dakota Water Resources Research Institute who evaluate funding proposals expressed their appreciation for Dr. Padmanabhan’s many years of leadership. “He has encouraged and administered a process to assist a large number of graduate students and advanced research initiatives that have contributed substantially to the understanding and management of the state’s water resources. He worked to disseminate information from those studies for use by water management practitioners and the public,” said Gregg Wiche, director, U.S. Geological Survey, North Dakota Water Science Center.
“Dr. Padmanabhan has administered an effective program and fostered a collegial culture,” said William Schuh, special investigations coordinator, Water Appropriations, North Dakota State Water Commission. “We wish him the best in all his future endeavors.”
“The Review Panel also congratulates Dr. Eakalak Khan on his appointment as the next director of the Water Resources Research Institute, and the panel looks forward to working with Dr. Khan in the future,” said Peter Wax, an environmental scientist in the Division of Water Quality at the North Dakota Department of Health.
Recent research sponsored by the Institute includes topics of water quality and contamination, flooding, drainage, and groundwater.
“I look forward to serving the Institute and the citizens of the state to examine water issues that impact North Dakota,” said Dr. Khan. “Building upon the leadership of Dr. Padmanabhan, we will continue the work on this most important resource.”
Khan is a recipient of a National Science Foundation CAREER award, an Odney Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as teacher and researcher of the year from the College of Engineering at NDSU, and served as department chair. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Water Works Association, Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, International Water Association, and Water Environment Federation.
Khan received his doctorate and master’s degrees in civil engineering from the University of California, and a master’s degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Hawaii.
“Under Dr. Khan’s leadership, the Institute will continue its long-standing track record of serving the state, conducting research on issues affecting our region” said Padmanabhan.
In addition to his long service as director of the state’s Water Resources Research Institute, Padmanabhan is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). He also serves on many committees of Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of ASCE, American Water Resources Association (AWRA), International Water Resources Association (IWRA), and American Geophysical Union (AGU). He currently chairs a (ASCE/EWRI) Task Committee on Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) approach to water quality management at watershed scale. He maintains the importance of the interdisciplinary nature of water research and has sought to involve faculty and students in varied disciplines in the Institute’s research projects.
Dr. G. Padmanabhan has served as co-principal investigator on a $4.8 million National Science Foundation collaborative project with tribal colleges in the state, as well as a National Science Foundation program to collaborate with tribal colleges in promoting engineering disciplines to underrepresented groups. He received his doctorate degree in civil engineering from Purdue University and a master’s degree in hydraulic engineering from Madras University, India.