Hugo A. Loaiciga, Ph.D., P.E., D.WRE, Dist.M.ASCE, an eminent hydrologist and professor in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been honored with inclusion by ASCE in its 2018 class of Distinguished Members for his groundbreaking and standout contributions to the understanding of the effects of climate processes on the recharge and the safe yield of aquifers, and for the improvement of groundwater management.
Loaiciga’s profound contributions have advanced environmental hydrology in the areas of watershed hydrology, hydrologic hazards, sustainable water resources management, regional hydrogeology, stochastic hydrology, and global-scale hydrologic processes. His early work on global warming and the hydrologic cycle, dating back to 1996, significantly enhanced today’s grasp of this topic long before there was an appreciation of its impacts.
He led the development of four ASCE standards for calculating hydraulic conductivity, already being well known for his work on probabilistic analysis and having applied it to aquifer properties as well as to aquifer recharge, droughts, and water resources systems. He has become a leader in the application of probabilistic analyses to the representation of hydraulic conductivity of aquifers. He remains also, in the general sense, an expert in developing and applying mathematical tools, techniques, and methods in the field of hydrology and water resources engineering.
Loaiciga serves the public in several ways, one example being his establishment and leadership of the KSTAT standards committee, which is dedicated to the authoring of standards of practice in groundwater hydrology, particularly soil properties determination. He has served on the City of Santa Barbara’s Board of Water Commissioners and as a hydrologic consultant to various federal agencies and private firms. In addition, he invites different scientists and engineers to serve together in attending the engineering problems he addresses through his committees.
Among the awards attesting to the importance of Loaiciga’s contributions are three from ASCE: the Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize, the Arid Lands Hydraulic Engineering Award, and the Julian Hinds Award. He is an Environmental Sciences and Engineering Fellow of AAAS, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, National Groundwater Association, International Association of Hydrogeologists, and American Meteorological Society.
Loaiciga has co-organized at least 66 professional conferences worldwide, is a visiting scholar/faculty in many countries, and has seen the publication of over 288 technical and scientific, peer-reviewed papers, including four ANSI/ASCE/EWRI standards.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis and is a licensed professional engineer in California.