Uri Shamir, Ph.D., F.EWRI, F.AGU, Dist.M.ASCE, a Professor Emeritus at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, has been honored by ASCE with inclusion in its 2019 class of Distinguished Members for an exemplary career as educator, leader in research and applications of scientific hydrology and decision making in policy, management and engineering of water resources systems, including international transboundary cooperative water management, and for leadership in the geophysical sciences of hydrology and water resources.
Shamir is a consummate water resources systems analyst and engineer who has significantly advanced the theory and practice of water system planning, design, operation, and management. Within a broad set of domains, his contributions on water distribution systems, aquifers, regional and national water management under uncertainty, water-sensitive, urban and regional planning, and on transboundary water management stand out. His research began with the development of a novel method for modeling distribution systems, and his important basic techniques and models for simulation and optimization of urban, regional, and national water systems have become the cornerstone for the work of many others.
Early in his career Shamir developed numerical methods and models for dispersion in porous media and for describing the motion of seawater interface in coastal aquifers. He then developed models for regional groundwater systems, which led to contributions of methodologies and models for management of groundwater resources, with particular emphasis on water quality and on the stochastic nature of the systems.
Shamir has an amazing talent for simplifying and capturing the essence of complex problems and creating the corresponding conceptual, structural, and computational models. He also has the unique ability to identify and integrate the nontechnical aspects of a problem in a multi-objective framework, to ensure that the solutions are relevant to the decision makers and to the impacted stakeholders. As a lead negotiator on water between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during the 1990s, he brought professionally based and credible scientific and engineering analysis and insight into the international political realm.
He has served for over five decades as Senior Consultant to the Israeli Water Supply Company and then to the National Water Authority, one of the many roles he has played in the service of his country and the Technion, where he established the Grand Water Research Institute and was a professor in the Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering for many years.
He has served the world scientific community as president of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, president of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, member of the Executive Board of the International Council of Science, and chair of the Technical Advisory Committee of UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Programme.
Shamir was given ASCE’s 2003 Julian Hinds Award “…for his pioneering research and for his intellectual generosity and encouragement of others.” He received the International Hydrology Prize in 2000, awarded by IAHS, UNESCO, and WMO, and has many “Excellence in Teaching” awards. In 2013 he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Israeli Water Resources Association.
He is Life Member of ASCE, Fellow of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics and of the American Geophysical Union, foreign member of the Spanish Academy of Science. Other affiliations are with AWRA, AWWA, the Israeli Association of Hydrology and Water Resources.
He has written many journal papers and conference proceedings and has given over 150 presentations and lectures. He has supervised 34 M.S. and 14 Ph.D. students. He has also consulted on many major assignments worldwide, in particular in the United States and Canada.
Shamir earned his B.Sc. summa cum laude in civil engineering (hydraulics) from Technion, and his Ph.D. in civil engineering (hydrodynamics and water resources) from MIT.