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Professional Engineer

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Dr. Robert O. Evans, P. E. is internationally recognized for his contributions to drainage, drainage water management, stream and wetland restoration, riparian buffers, and nonpoint source pollution control. While best known for a truly outstanding extension program, he also made significant and substantial contributions in research, graduate teaching, extension administration, and leadership in local and national committees, professional societies, study commissions and task forces, and from 2006 to 2014, as Head of the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at NCSU. Dr. Evans has excelled in every role with his contributions making a real difference to agricultural production and profits on drained soils, to water quality, the environment, his students’ academic and professional careers and society at large.

From his early research, Dr. Evans determined crop response to shallow water tables and developed algorithms for predicting yields losses in terms of water table depths and durations. His results were incorporated into DRAINMOD. Dr. Evans is best known for his contributions to applied research, extension and public adoption of drainage water management, specifically controlled drainage (CD). His work expanded research sites in North Carolina and helped environmental regulators and farmers better understand the practice and its application of drained cropland. Working with NC Cooperative Extension, USDA-NRCS and ARS, he set up a series of field demonstration and research sites, the results from which convinced regulators that CD would work and resulted in it being recognized as a Best Management Practice to improve drainage water quality with associated cost sharing provided by the State of North Carolina. It is now a major component of the ADMS Task Force with application to the Midwestern US.

Dr. Evans’ service includes past chair of the 1998 National Drainage Symposium, past chair of the Drainage Council for the ASCE Division of Irrigation and Drainage and past chair of the ASABE Department Heads. As member of the International Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, he has participated in congresses in South America, The Netherlands, China and Finland. Dr. Evans has collaborated with water management researchers in Canada, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom, served as instructor at Drainage Schools in Ohio and Illinois, co-instructed DRAINMOD courses in six states, and served on teams to review water management programs in the Southeast region and nationally. Throughout his career, Dr. Evans has demonstrated a strong commitment of service to the organizations he represents.


Ph.D. Biological and Agricultural Engineering NC State University 1991

M.S. Biological and Agricultural Engineering NC State University 1981

B.S. Biological and Agricultural Engineering NC State University 1976

Area(s) of Expertise

Irrigation • drainage • water table management • water quality


View all publications 
  • International Drainage Hall of Fame
  • ASCE Royce J. Tipton Award
  • ASABE Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award
  • FELLOW, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
  • North Carolina Irrigation Award
  • "Professional Achievement in Water Quality", N.C. Soil and Water Conservation Society
  • ASAE "Extension Educational Aids Blue Ribbons"
  • USDA "Superior Service Award" Water Table Management Group
  • N. C. Irrigation "Public Service Award"
  • R.J. Reynolds "Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award"