The North Dakota Water Resources Research Institute was founded in 1965 by authority of Congress as one of the 54 Institutes throughout the nation and is administered through the United States Geological Survey. The Institute's office is located in the College of Engineering and Architecture of North Dakota State University (NDSU), the land grant university of the State.


Call for 2016 NDWRRI Fellowhip Applications

Water Resources Research Institute Names Director


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.



ND WRRI 4th Distinguished Water Seminar Feb 19, 2015

Seminar Presentation



NDWRRI Graduate Research Fellow, Heather Dose, is selected for National Science Foundation fellowship to study soil ecology in Senegal.



A paper on the impact of subsurface drainage on stream flows in the Red River of the North basin by Mohammed M. Rahman, WRRI Institute Fellow, and Dr. Zhulu Lin, his adviser, is published in the Journal of Hydrology. The research was partially funded by the ND WRRI graduate fellowship program. Click here for the full text of the paper


NDWRRI Graduate Research Fellows, and faculty present at the 2014 North Dakota Water Quality Monitoring Conference

NDWRRI partnered with North Dakota Department of Health, ND State Water Commission, ND Game and Fish Department, US Geological Survey, and US Department of Agriculture to host the 2014 North Dakota Water Quality Monitoring Conference, March 4-6, Bismarck, ND.  G. Padmanabhan, director of NDWRRI and professor of civil and environmental engineering, served on the conference planning committee. The conference was attended by more than 100 water professionals from North Dakota and surrounding states.
Francis Casey, professor and director of School of Natural Resource Sciences was one of the key note speakers. His talk was titled “Estrogenic Hormones in the Environment.” Several past and present ND WRRI Graduate Fellows, NDSU students, and their advisers presented at the conference:
Podium Presentations

Under the radar: Nanoparticles and rare earth elements as emerging pollutants
Marinus Otte and Donna Jacob

What, When, and Where in Studying the Best Management Practices (BMPs) in Grand Forks, North Dakota
Yeo Howe Lim (UND)

Prioritizing aquifer monitoring in North Dakota: Geochemistry is important too.
Scott F. Korom (UND) and William Schuh ( ND State Water Commission)

Plant Phosphorus, Nitrogen, and Carbon and Soil Phosphorus in North Dakota Wetlands
Lindsey Meyers

The National Wetland Condition Assessment in North Dakota: Preliminary Results
Shawn DeKeyser

Three Discovery Farms…Three Unique Water Quality Stories
Rochelle Nustad

Monitoring tile drainage and subirrigation water quality using electrical conductivity
Xinhua Jia

Monitoring water quality in Devils Lake in real time
Xiaodong Zhang (UND)

Poster Presentations

Multi-Elements in Pothole Wetlands – investigating the trace and rare earth elements
Donna Jacob
Iron Cross-linked Biopolymers for Phosphate Removal
Mohammad Hossain

Uncertainty analysis of load estimation for the nutrient TMDLs for Lake Ashtabula
Mengqi Xiong, Zhulu Lin, G. Padmanabhan
Mapping the Fate of Nutrients at the Abandoned Crookston Cattle Company Feedlot
Phil Gerla and Prosper Gbolo (UND)

ND WRRI Graduate Fellows and other students with Dr. Padmanabhan, Director of NDWRRI, at the conference. Dr. Xinhua Jia, Associate Professor, Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, NDSU, presenting

ND WRRI Graduate Fellows and other students with Dr. Padmanabhan, Director of NDWRRI, at the conference.

From left to right: Dr. Padmanabhan, Mohammad Hossain, Achintyamugdha Sharma, Amanda Grosz, Priyanka Deka, Anthony Wamono, Debjit Roy, and Mengqi Xiong

Dr. Xinhua Jia, Associate Professor, Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, NDSU, presenting


Dr. Achintya Bezbaruah, institute affiliate faculty and his student WRRI Graduate Research Fellows have published several papers in the last three years. Their papers in water-related topics are listed below.

  1. Bezbaruah, A.N., Kalita, H.*, Almeelbi, T., Capecchi, C.L.*, Jacob, J.L., Agrinov, A.G., Payne, S.A. Ca-Alginate Entrapped Nanoscale Iron: Arsenic Treatability and Mechanism Studies, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 16:2175, 2014.
  2. Krajangpan, S.*, Kalita, H.*, B. J. Chisholm, B.J., Bezbaruah, A.N. Iron Nanoparticles Coated with Amphiphilic Polysiloxane Graft Copolymers: Dispersibility and Contaminant Treatability. Environmental Science & Technology, 46:10130-10136, 2012.
  3. Bezbaruah, A.N., Shanbhogue, S.S.*, Simsek, S., Khan, E. Encapsulation of iron nanoparticles in alginate biopolymer for trichloroethylene remediation, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 13:6673-6681, 2011.
Work not supported by NDWRRI but published by NDWRRI fellows/associates:
  1. Jacob, D., Borchardt, J., Leelruban, N.*, Otte, M., Bezbaruah, A.  Uptake and Translocation of Ti from Nanoparticles in Crops and Wetland Plants, International Journal of Phytoremediation, 15:142–153, 2013.
  2.  Almeelbi, T., Bezbaruah, A.N. Aqueous Phosphate Removal using Nanoscale Zero-valent Iron, Journal of Nanoparticle Research, 14:1-14, 2012.



Darcy Lecture Hosted by the Geology and Geological Department, University of North Dakota

The Geology and Geological Engineering department of the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, hosted the 2014 Darcy Lecture on February 28, 2014.  The Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecture Series in Groundwater Science was established in 1986 by the National Groundwater Association (NGWA) to foster interest and excellence in groundwater science and technology. The series — which has reached more than 85,000 groundwater students, faculty members, and professionals — honors Henry Darcy of France for his 1856 investigations that established the physical basis upon which groundwater hydrogeology has been studied ever since.

Dr. Dorthe Wildenschild is this year’s Darcy Lecturer. Dorthe Wildenschild is an Associate Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. Research in her group focuses on physics, chemistry, and microbiology of relevance to flow and transport in porous media. Much of her work is supported by high resolution imaging and applications primarily involve subsurface multiphase flow phenomena. She had a busy lecture circuit through Germany, France, The Netherlands, Israel, Scotland, and Switzerland before coming to Grand Forks.

Dr. Wildenschild presented two lectures, one at noon and another at 3:00 pm. The event was organized by Dr. Phil Gerla and Dr. Scott Korom from the department of Geology and Geological Engineering, UND. Both of them are NDWRRI affiliate faculty.

Dr. Wildenschild’s lecture at noon was titled, “What Happens in the Pore, No Longer Stays in the Pore:  Opportunities and Limitations for Porous Media Characterization and Process Quantification Using X-ray Tomography” and the 3:00 pm lecture was titled, “Optimizing Capillary Trapping as a Carbon Dioxide Mitigation Strategy:  Pore-Scale Findings in Support of Larger-Scale Implementation.”

Please feel free to learn more about her lectures at

Several NDWRRI Fellows (F), graduate students (GS) and faculty attended the lectures.

From left to right: Debjit Roy (F), Berdakh Utemuratov (GS), Navaratnam Leelaruban (F), Dr. G. Padmanabhan (Director, NDWRRI), and Anthony Wamono (F)

From left to right: Debjit Roy (F), Berdakh Utemuratov (GS), Navaratnam Leelaruban (F), Dr. G. Padmanabhan (Director, NDWRRI), and Anthony Wamono (F)



NDWRRI Fellows and Advisors Present at the Midwest Groundwater Conference in Bismarck

Several North Dakota Water resources Research Institute (NDWRRI) Fellows and affiliated faculty presented at the 58th Annual Midwest Groundwater Conference, September 23-25, 2013 in Bismarck, ND. Approximately 140 researchers and practicing professionals from government agencies, industries, and universities from the Midwestern states attended the conference. A tour of the Bakken oil country was a highlight of the conference. The tour included an oil drilling site, production well, water depots and transport, wastewater handling, and a man camp. An intake tower with horizontal wells on the Missouri river for Bismarck water supply was also a part of the tour.

The Midwest Groundwater Conference is a forum in which individuals, universities, industry, and government agencies of the Midwestern states come together annually to share research and case studies related to all aspects of groundwater. The conference began in 1956 in Illinois and has been held at one of the member states ever since.

G. Padmanabhan, Director, NDWRRI, served on the Planning Committee and chaired a session.
Scott Korom, Associate Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering, UND, an NDWRRI affiliate faculty, and also a planning committee member was the banquet speaker. His talk was about nitrogen issues in the Lake Taupo Catchment in New Zealand. He also chaired a session.
Other NDWRRI affiliate faculty members who chaired sessions are Francis Casey, Professor of Soil Science and Director of School of natural resources, NDSU, and Xinhua Jia, Assistant Professor, Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, NDSU.

Presentations by Fellows (F) and affiliate faculty (AF) include:

  1. Underground Coal Gasification: What is it? What role does hydrogeology play?- Scott Korom (AF)
  2. Stationarity Revisited:  A Physical Geographer’s Perspective – Paul Todhunter (AF)
  3. Surface Modification of Nanoparticles with Food Starch for Groundwater Remediation Applications – Achintya Bezbaruah (AF)
  4. Fate and Transport of Estrogenic Hormone in Subsurface Waters – Francis Casey (AF)
  5. 5.Electron Donor Contributions to Denitrification in the Elk Valley Aquifer – Amanda Krieger (F), Scott Korom (AF), and William Schuh
  6. Groundwater Level Response to Droughts in North Dakota – Navaratnam Leelaruban and G. Padmanabhan (AF)
  7. Groundwater Bioremediation for Alternating Contaminants using Enricher Reactor – Entrapped Cell Permeable Reactive Biobarrier – Murthy Kasi (F)


Achintlya Bezbaruah Presenting NDWRRI participants in Banquet dinner

                                    Achintya Presenting                                                                       NDWRRI participants in Banquet dinner

                                                  Bakken Oil Patch tour participants

                                                                                     Bakken Oil Patch tour participants

Dr. Achintya Bezbaruah, assistant professor in civil engineering, NDSU and an affiliate faculty of the North Dakota Water Resources Research Institute, organized a teleconference “The Second International WateRediscover Conference” for middle and high school students from four different countries to present water research at NDSU on May 15, 2013. WateRediscover is an international program on water recycling/reuse among middle and high school students. Seven teams from Bangladesh, India, Saudi Arabia, and the USA presented their research findings from their six-month long projects in which they designed, fabricated, tested water treatment and wastewater recycling units following the Engineering Design Process (EDP).

President Bresciani, NDSU, inaugurated the teleconference. Vice-Chancellor of Tezpur University (India) Dr. Mihir Chaudhuri, NDSU Dean of Engineering and Architecture Dr. Gary Smith, and West Fargo School District Superintendent Dr. David Flowers addressed the participants.

Harjyoti Kalita (NDWRRI Fellow), Andrea Meyer, Graduate Student Mary Pate, Achintya Bezbaruah at EWRI 2013 at Cincinnati Achintya Bezbaruah, West Fargo STEM Center Middle School students Jadyn Voeller, Emelia Asa, Alison Ault, STEM Teacher Eric Dobervich

Undergraduate Students Amanda Grosz, Laura Clarens, Achintya Bezbaruah (GlobaKonnect)


Dr. Zhulu Lin, Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, NDSU, made a presentation titled “Modeling the Impact of Tile Drainage on Streamflow and Water Quality in Red River Using SWAT” in the Red River Basin Water Quality and Watershed Modeling Meeting at the Energy & Environmental Research Center, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks on April 30, 2013. Dr. Lin is an affiliate faculty of NDWRRI. The meeting was attended by various federal and state water agency personnel. There were over 55 participants at the meeting.

Modeling Meeting Proceedings:



WRRI Fellows and Advisers Reach Out to High School Students with Presentations of their Research in North Dakota River Watch Workshop, Kathryn, North Dakota



Joint North Dakota Water Quality Monitoring Council and ND WRRI Meeting 02/07/13

North Dakota Water Quality Monitoring Council and ND Water Resources Research Institute Joint Meeting Agenda
North Dakota Water Quality Monitoring Council Presentations
ND WRRI Fellowship Research Presentations

3rd Distinguished Water Seminar
Seminar Presentation


EMERGING SCIENCE: Water Dynamics - Vermont EPSCoR



Selected Podcasts on Water - US Geological Survey



Drinking Water: Understanding the Science and Policy behind a Critical Resource - National Research Council's Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB)



"So You Live Behind a Levee" - American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) publication


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