New leadership takes the helm of MO Water Resources Reseach Center
As it celebrates its 50th anniversary, the Missouri Water Resources Research Center is entering a new era of leadership.
Baolin Deng began his tenure as the center’s new director on March 1, replacing University of Missouri in Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Emeritus Tom Clevenger, who stepped down from his post after 30 years at the helm.
C.W. LaPierre Professor Deng also is a civil engineer and additionally serves as chair of the Chemical Engineering Department. He said serving as director of the statewide agency is a challenge he is honored to undertake.
“I’m looking forward to working with people across the campus and across the state and federal agencies to build a strong Water Resources Research Center,” Deng said.
The Missouri Water Resources Research Center is one of 54 such entities — one in each state in the U.S., the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam — under the umbrella of the federal National Institutes for Water Resources. The MWRRC was established in 1964 following the enactment of the National Water Resources Research Act with the goal of sponsoring and administering research and research projects on Missouri’s water and related environmental problems.
MWRRC serves as a connection between researchers and potential research beneficiaries, as well as working in conjunction with the state to provide data to agencies such as the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Department of Conservation for their use in solving water-related issues. The institute also partners with federal agencies, local companies, area universities and private organizations.
“The goal is really to bring researchers, especially working in academia, together to understand the challenges and what kinds of opportunities we have to serve the state’s water-resource needs, and to help the state maintain water quality,” Deng said.
Deng originally had plans to work in geology when he first began his education, but he said he later came to the realization that his interests had shifted to how the environment impacts health and quality of life, thus beginning his work with water quality. He began working with the MWRRC in 2006.
In the near future, a workshop and meeting are being planned as part of the 50th anniversary of the MWRRC. Deng said he’d like to see the group tackle issues including maintaining an adequate water supply through times of drought and making sure the group is properly connected with all its stakeholders. But first and foremost, Deng wants to get settled and familiarized with his role as quickly as he can.
“I’m pretty much honored to be able to serve the state as the director. Dr. Clevenger has been the director for 30 years during this 50 years of history and has been doing a wonderful job for that many years,” Deng said. “They’re big shoes to fill, a lot of things for me to learn. “