Carnegie Mellon University
October 04, 2012

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon’s David A. Dzombak Chairs NRC Research Committee Charged With Advising US Army Corps of Engineers on Water Resources

Committee Report Encourages More Partnerships With Private Sector and Local and State Governments

Contact: Chriss Swaney / 412-268-5776 /

Army CorpsPITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University’s David A. Dzombak is chair of a National Research Council Committee (NRC), which today recommended in a new report that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expand revenues and strengthen partnerships with the public sectors and local and state governments to help manage the corps’ aging water infrastructure.

“The country’s water resources infrastructure is largely built-out and there are limited sites to construct new projects,” said Dzombak, the Walter J. Blenko, Sr. University Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director of the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research at CMU.

“Today the corps focuses mainly on sustaining its existing structure, some of which are in a state of significant deterioration. We now have a scenario where the water infrastructure is wearing out faster than it can be replaced,” Dzombak said.

The report reveals that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faces an “unsustainable situation” in maintaining its national water resources projects at acceptable levels of performance due to inadequate funding for maintenance and rehabilitation over at least three decades. The report also calls for an independent investigation of opportunities for partnering with private entities and with state and local governments for operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of water resources infrastructure.

“Opportunities for new arrangements in operation, maintenance, rehabilitation and upgrade exist for the infrastructure associated with each of the corps mission areas, which include inland navigation, ports and harbors, flood risk management and hydropower generation,” said Dzombak, who has conducted leading-edge research in the areas of water quality engineering, abandoned mine drainage remediation, river and watershed restoration and contaminated site remediation, and issues at the water-energy nexus.

CMU’s Dzombak was selected in February 2010 to serve as chair of the National Research Council Committee on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Water Resources Science, Engineering and Planning, which provides advice to the Corps of Engineers on scientific, engineering and water resource issues. Dzombak is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

The latest report was sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council. For more on the report, see


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers faces an “unsustainable situation” in maintaining its national water projects at acceptable levels of performance, says a new report from the National Research Council.