Challenges in Water Resources

Location of Program: Dominican Republic      Year: 2012
Program Director(s): Jim Nelson
Participating Major(s): Civil and Environmental Engineering


The International Challenges in Water Resources in the Dominican Republic students collaborate with engineering colleagues working at the Instituto Nacional de Recursos Hidricos (INDRHI) to evaluate important national water resources projects that affect water supply, hydroelectric power generation, and flood control. The BYU students use software and their technical skills to solve real problems while sharing their ideas, knowledge, and experience from the classroom in training and passing the projects off to their counterparts at INDRHI. The resulting experience provides them with a greater understanding of civil engineering practice internationally, opportunities to learn the technical vocabulary of their second language, and confidence in the application of their engineering studies.

Recap of the Year:

In 2012 there were twelve students who participated in the program working on four different projects. In most cases the students were asked to look at available stream flow and precipitation records to determine the feasibility and efficiency of a proposed dam and reservoir. The purpose of the dam in most cases was to provide a source of hydroelectric power as the country has a severe shortage and often has intermittent blackouts because of it. In addition to looking at the potential for hydropower generation, they also evaluated the impacts of flood mitigation and assessed the flooding that could occur resulting from a dam failure. The work was presented to INDRHI and other interested government agencies and then passed off to engineers working at INDRHI for further study and evaluation. While there, Dr. Nelson also presented work completed by BYU students to deploy a national hydrologic information database which was highlighted by INDRHI’s director (a cabinet level authority) and received attention from all of the national press.