Tirusew Asefa, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, F.ASCE, the planning and decision support manager at Tampa Bay Water, one of the largest water supply utilities in the southeastern Unites States, has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.
Asefa has over 20 years of experience in applied research and large-scale field application of machine learning approaches to water resources management, decision-making under deep uncertainty, risk and reliability, and climate change impact assessment and adaptation approaches. With Tampa Bay Water, he uses state-of-the-practice resource optimization and simulation decision support tools for multi-timescale operation, management and planning.
He also has a courtesy professor appointment with University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability, where he gives hands-on practical seminars to students and researchers linking state-of-the-science with field applications. He is one of the pioneering researchers in application of statistical learning theory (aka Support Vector Machines) in water resources management. His published work in Water Resources Research (2004), Groundwater (2005) and Journal of Hydrology (2006) is the first to introduce this innovative topic to those journals’ audiences.
As a forward-looking and innovative practitioner, Asefa is frequently invited as panelist/evaluator for projects by NSF, NOAA, the Water Research Foundation and others to vet applied research of significant impact. He was invited by Cornell University and the University of Cuenca (in Ecuador) to provide distinguished speakership. Additionally, he is actively involved in knowledge sharing and mentoring the next generation of African professionals in climate change adaptation through the Pan-African University initiative of the African Union (PAUWES, Algeria).
Asefa is the author of more than 30 peer-reviewed and over 100 nonrefereed articles, as well as conference and reports, all on various aspects of water resources operation, planning and management. Some of the tools he developed were highlighted by the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.
Currently, as a chair of Florida Water and Climate Alliance, he leads the group’s effort in building a stakeholder-scientist partnership that is committed to increasing the relevance of climate science data and tools to support decision-making in water resources management, planning and operations in Florida.