PROFESSOR EMERITUS URI SHAMIR
Technion | Israel Institute of Technology – Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering
My main focus is on planning, design and operation of water resources systems, using OR methodologies of modeling, simulation, optimization and decision-making, with special attention to decision making under uncertainty. Water resources systems contain both natural and man-made components, so the studies include: hydrology of surface and ground water; water supply and distribution systems; urban water resources; water sensitive urban and watershed planning; regional and national water systems; water policy and strategy. I conduct academic and practice-oriented research with graduate students and colleagues in academia, in consulting firms, and in local, regional and national agencies, combined with long-term consulting – thereby bridging between theory and practice, in both directions.
Since 1967, after returning from studies at MIT, I have taught at the Technion and at some notable universities in North America courses on water resources management, systems analysis and optimization, surface and groundwater hydrology, fluid mechanics and hydraulics, and have been repeatedly cited as Outstanding Teacher.
Since 1965 I have consulted to local, municipal, regional and national water authorities and companies in several countries, and to international agencies. I was consultant to Mekorot Water Company 1967-1992, and since 1992 I am consultant to the Israel Water Authority, and was member of the Israeli team dealing and negotiating with our neighbors on water.
My long experience and success in using models to support decision making in the real world has led me to state, in fact to preach, that “A model is a platform for disciplined discourse“. The meaning is that while the answer given by the model is nominally the purpose of using it, in fact a more important role for the model is to focus the discourse among the stakeholders, analysts, decision makers, and civil society on the issues that are being addressed and the approach taken to resolve them, and this is done most effectively with the structured discipline that a quantitative model imposes .
I promote Parsimony with Insight as a recommended approach for using the simplest model that captures the salient features and issues of the management problem being addressed, that delivers the needed results in a manner that is insightful and useful for decision making.
Since the 1970s I served the international scientific community, as President of the Israeli Association of Water Resources (Eyal, 1984-1985), the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS, 1991-1995), Vice President (1995-1999 and 1999-2003) and President (2003-2007) of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG), Member of the Executive Board of the International, Council of Science (ICSU, 2005-2008 and 2008-2011).
I was the Founding Director (1991-2003) of the Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute, (GWRI) at the Technion, whose mission is to operate as a national water research institute. For many years it housed the Blumenstein Information Center, which assembled, organized and made openly available information on water in Israel and the Middle East, and provides links to international water information sources.
I am the recipient of the Israeli Water Association’s Life-long Achievement Award. The citation (translated from Hebrew) reads:
“Professor Uri Shamir: In gratitude and appreciation for life-long achievements in the domain of water, for scientific and engineering achievements, for professional leadership, for the ability to combine research and teaching to address urgent issues facing the water sector, for your contribution in educating generations of top ranking professionals of the Israeli water sector, for your contribution to the content and formulation of Israel’s water agreements with its neighbors, for distinguished representation of Israel in the international water community by consultation to international entities like the World Bank and UNESCO and by leadership of international scientific organizations, for involvement in and influence on management of the Israeli water sector, and for contributing to the Water Sector Master Plan and its approval”. 24 April 2013
I was inducted Fellow of the Environment and Water Resources Institute (EWRI) of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).