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Team Highlight – Tim Gates

Colorado State University Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Timothy Gates and graduate student Greg Steed take measurements with a multi-probe in Cottonwood Creek west of Buena Vista, Colorado, July 5, 2011 as a part of Gates’ Arkansas River basin monitoring and modeling research project.
Professor Timothy Gates takes measurements with a multi-probe in Cottonwood Creek west of Buena Vista, Colorado as a part of Gates’ Arkansas River basin monitoring and modeling research project.

Tim Gates is a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University. Tim specializes in hydraulic and water resources systems engineering. He has taught academic courses in open-channel flow, fluid mechanics, hydraulic engineering, hydraulic structures/systems, hydrology, groundwater engineering, and solid dynamics. Tim is also Co-Chair Hydraulics, Irrigation and Drainage Working Group for USPCASW.

Q: Please share a little about your background and expertise?

I grew up in Louisiana, where water is abundant, and moved 36 years ago to Colorado, where water is rather scarce.  My work focuses on how water resources systems impact and are impacted by irrigated agriculture and has included field monitoring, modeling, and analysis of shallow groundwater flow and salt transport; the nature and fate of return flows from irrigation to stream-aquifer systems; and management of water quality (especially salinity, selenium, and nutrients) for irrigated agriculture.  I have been on the faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering at CSU for 27 years, where I teach courses in hydraulics and fluid mechanics and conduct research.

Q: What other projects are you currently involved with outside of USPCASW?

Currently, I direct several research projects that focus on describing and modeling surface and subsurface flows and solute transport in irrigated stream-aquifer systems in the Arkansas River Basin, the Yampa River Basin, and the White River Basin in Colorado.  The aim is to find improved infrastructure and enhanced water and land management practices that can conserve water, boost the productivity of irrigated land, and improve water quality in aquifers and streams.

Q: What is your experience doing this type of work?

My international experience includes a total of about four years in Egypt working on various irrigation projects.  I also have consulted in India, Sri Lanka, and Australia on irrigation projects and have lectured on irrigation and water resources in China and Vietnam.  I had the privilege to serve for 11 years as Co-Director of the Colorado Institute for Irrigation Management and for 7 years as the Associate Director of the International School for Water Resources, directing numerous training programs for international professionals from several countries.  I have helped direct a capacity-building exchange project with the Water Resources University in Hanoi, Vietnam over the last two years.

Q: What excites you about USPCASW and what drew you to the project?

I am happy to have the chance to contribute to the goal of building a leading center in Pakistan for research and teaching in water resources.  It is especially gratifying to get to know, work with, and learn from water colleagues from Pakistan, the University of Utah, and other cooperating partners.

Q: What challenges do you see with this project?

Building and maintaining strong partnerships over large distances will be an on-going challenge.  Thankfully, modern communication technology will help ease the difficulties.

Q: What’s your favorite water place?

I love aerial vistas of rivers winding their way through lush irrigated farmland that would otherwise be desert.