Testing the Water

Hydrologist Hugo Loáiciga elected a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers

Hydrologist Hugo Loáiciga’s early work on global warming and the hydrologic cycle significantly enhanced today’s grasp of this topic long before there was an appreciation of its impacts. 

Now, for his “groundbreaking and eminent contributions to the understanding of the effects of climate processes on the recharge and the safe yield of aquifers and the improvement of groundwater management,” Loáiciga, a professor in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Geography, has been named a distinguished member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

“I was very proud to be named a distinguished member, which is a major milestone in my career,” said Loáiciga, whose research has advanced environmental hydrology in the areas of watershed analysis, study of hydrologic hazards, sustainable water resources management, regional hydrogeology, stochastic hydrology and global-scale hydrologic processes. “The distinction also gives me unique visibility in my professional community, which enables me to be consulted on complex issues requiring an expert technical opinion about water issues.”

“Hugo is a principled colleague who is always working to make the department and campus a better place,” said Stuart Sweeney, chair of the Department of Geography. “He has impacted generations of geography and environmental studies students who have had their first exposure to groundwater hydrology through his courses.”

Loáiciga received a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the Universidad de Costa Rica and both a Master of Science and a doctorate in water resources and hydrology from UC Davis. His research interests include planning, design and analysis of water resources systems and theory as well as computational aspects of surface and groundwater hydrology. He served as a member of the city of Santa Barbara’s Water Commission for six years and joined the faculty in 1988. 

Loáiciga has been a licensed professional engineer license in California since 1995. He has authored 296 technical and scientific peer-reviewed publications and a book about evolutionary algorithms. He also is co-holder of a U.S. patent for an integrated water resources monitoring management system with interactive logic control for well water extraction.

Loáiciga is an environmental sciences and engineering fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Groundwater Association, the International Association of Hydrogeologists, the International Association of Hydrological Sciences and the California Groundwater Resources Association. 

Elected a fellow of the ASCE in 2007, Loáiciga has received several other honors from the organization: the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, the Service to the Profession Award, the Julian Hinds Award for outstanding professional contributions and the Arid Lands Hydraulic Engineering Award. 

Founded in 1852, the ASCE is the oldest national engineering society in the United States. Only 229 of ASCE’s more than 150,000 current members can call themselves distinguished members. Loáiciga will be honored as such in October at the 2018 ASCE Convention in Denver.

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