The Institute for Water Resources (IWR) is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Field Operating Activity located within the Washington DC National Capital Region (NCR), in Alexandria, Virginia and with satellite centers in New Orleans, LA; Davis, CA; Golden, CO; and Pittsburgh, PA. IWR was created in 1969 to analyze and anticipate changing water resources management conditions, and to develop planning methods and analytical tools to address economic, social, institutional, and environmental needs in water resources planning and policy. Since its inception, IWR has been a leader in the development of strategies and tools for planning and executing the USACE water resources planning and water management programs.
IWR strives to improve the performance of the USACE water resources program by examining water resources problems and offering practical solutions through a wide variety of technology transfer mechanisms. In addition to hosting and leading USACE participation in national forums, these include the production of white papers, reports, workshops, training courses, guidance and manuals of practice; the development of new planning, socio-economic, and risk-based decision-support methodologies, improved hydrologic engineering methods and software tools; and the management of national waterborne commerce statistics and other USACE Civil Works information systems. IWR serves as the USACE expertise center for integrated water resources planning and management; hydrologic engineering; engineering risk assessments; conflict resolution and public participation; and waterborne commerce data and marine transportation systems.
IWR’s Hydrologic Engineering Center (HEC), located in Davis, CA specializes in the development, documentation, training, and application of hydrologic engineering and hydrologic models. IWR’s Navigation and Civil Works Decision Support Center (NDC) and its Waterborne Commerce Statistical Center (WCSC) in New Orleans, LA, is the Corps data collection organization for waterborne commerce, vessel characteristics, port facilities, dredging information, and information on navigation locks. IWR’s Risk Management enter is a center of expertise whose mission is to manage and assess risks for dams and levee systems across USACE, to support dam and levee safety activities throughout USACE, and to develop policies, methods, tools, and systems to enhance those activities.
Other enterprise centers at the Institute’s NCR office include the International Center for Integrated Water Resources Management (ICIWaRM), under the auspices of UNESCO, which is a distributed, intergovernmental center established in partnership with various Universities and non-Government organizations; and the Conflict Resolution and Public Participation Center of Expertise, which includes a focus on both the processes associated with conflict resolution and the integration of public participation techniques with decision support and technical modeling.
The Institute also plays a prominent role within a number of the USACE technical Communities of Practice (CoP), including the Economics CoP, with the Corps’ Chief Economist resident at IWR’s NCR office, along with a critical mass of economists, sociologists and geographers specializing in water and natural resources investment decision support analysis and multi-criteria tradeoff techniques.