Ryan Bench leads a presentation of his group’s work to INDRHI personnel.

Jim Nelson visits with Director Rodriguez and other INDRHI dignitaries at a dinner celebration.

Challenges in Water Resources

Location of Program: Dominican Republic      Year: 2013
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:

This year for the first time the group traveled in early February and used their time in Santo Domingo to do site visits and establish an appropriate scope of work.  This left two months after the visit to perform the actual work of the project. Compared to previous years, the students were able to perform a more thorough analysis and design recommendations and in particular their final reports (all in Spanish) were much more comprehensive and representative of the hard work they put in.  Besides developing a better project management plan and having more time to do the analysis, the earlier visit also allowed the team to bond earlier with their counterparts in the Dominican Republic and perhaps more importantly with each other.  It was observed that this group of students were more cohesive and enjoyed working together.

Each of the groups were tasked with performing a dam site feasibility study from a hydrologic and hydraulic perspective meaning that they evaluated whether there would be sufficient water to meet irrigation and hydro-electric power generation that would be cost effective. They further analyzed potential flood reduction from storage and flood risk from catastrophic failures.  Their work was presented before high ranking government officials (ministry of environment) as well as the technical people that support them and were uniformly praised for the quality and utility of their work.