Board Members

Paul D. Robillard, Executive Director

Paul has been actively contributing to international education, development, and research programs for over forty years. Widely recognized for his research and outreach contributions in the design and operation of watershed monitoring networks and conservation systems, he has collaborated extensively with universities, foundations and government agencies throughout the United States and overseas on water resources research and development topics. Since 2003 Paul’s research and outreach efforts have focused on the impact of climate change on water resources and agriculture.

Paul was recently selected as a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center (Italy) Resident Fellow. The Bellagio Center supports individuals and organizations who are working to improve the lives of poor or vulnerable people globally by convening prominent experts, influencers, and other key stakeholders to advance knowledge and form new partnerships, financial commitments, and initiatives. As a Bellagio Fellow, Paul is advancing a project to monitor and develop strategies for adapting to the impact of climate change. Indicators of change will include those experienced by indigenous communities in the Amazon Basin.

From 1968 to 70, Paul was a Civil Engineer working with Peace Corps Ecuador on a United Nations project to design and construct water supply systems for indigenous communities in the Andean region of Ecuador. The project later became a model for the worldwide UN water decade (1980-90). Paul designed and coordinated water quality monitoring projects in the West Branch of the Delaware River (major water supply source for New York City), the first watershed scale event-based monitoring project in the U.S. while he was at Cornell University. He also led a research effort as part the Lake Ontario Phosphorus Evaluation Project. Dr. Robillard was named a Fulbright Scholar in 1995-96 working with Ecuadorian engineers and scientist to develop water quality monitoring networks and conservation systems to protect some of the most important ecological reserves in the world. At the conclusion of the project, Paul was honored to present a series of lectures (in Spanish) on his research at all major universities in Ecuador in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of the Fulbright program. In 2015 He returned to Ecuador to deliver a series of lectures on the impact of climate change on water resources, agriculture and biodiversity as a Fulbright Specialist. The lectures introduced new concepts and tools related to the use of flow regimes and life zones to predict future the dynamic and evolving impact of climate change on water supply and agricultural systems.

Through World Water Watch, Paul has continued to be actively involved in technical assistance, workshops and seminars supporting water resources and conservation programs throughout Central and South America as well as the United States. In addition to being a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Robillard was awarded the W. Lamar Kopp Award at the Pennsylvania State University in 2001 for his international contributions. He was given the National Gunlogson Engineering Award by the Society for Engineering in Agricultural, Food and Biological Systems (ASAE) for his career contributions in water resources engineering. Paul received National Software Awards from ASAE in 1990 and 1993. He was a national expert and advisor to the 10-year Rural Clean Water Program (1980-90) as well as the NOAA-EPA-USDA Coastal Zone Management Program. A native of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Paul graduated from the University of Notre Dame in Civil Engineering. His graduate studies (M.S. and Ph.D.) were completed at Cornell University.

Will Clarkson

Dr. William Clarkson is a native of South Carolina.  He has a BS in Civil Engineering from Duke, MS in Environmental Systems Engineering from Clemson, and PhD in Agricultural Engineering from Cornell.  He was awarded the 1986 Engineering-Science/Association of Environmental Engineering Professors Doctoral Thesis Award with his advisor, Dr. Bill Jewell.  Will has been on the Civil and Environmental Engineering faculty at Clarkson Univ., Oklahoma State Univ. (where he is Professor Emeritus), the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, and most recently the Univ. of Connecticut, where he received the C. R. Klewin, Inc. Excellence in Teaching Award from students in Environmental Engineering.  Prior experience included consulting and Peace Corps service in Western Samoa.  Will is currently retired in Waterford, CT.  He and his wife Gay belong to the Thames Yacht Club and the Thames Club of New London, where Will participates in duckpin bowling and is the reigning 8-ball pool champion.

Ron Droste

The importance of water and wastewater treatment processes in saving lives and maintaining health in both developed and developing countries cannot be over emphasized. The U.S. and all developed countries greatly suffered from water borne diseases until advances in water and wastewater treatment began emerging in the early 20th century. Water borne diseases still afflict approximately 30 % of the world’s population, primarily in developing countries.

Ron has been a major contributor to solving water and wastewater problems. His teaching of young engineers as well as research and outreach with international organizations has been recognized by many working in the field of environmental engineering. Dr. Droste’s most significant contribution to the field is his undergraduate textbook Theory and Practice of Water and Wastewater Treatment (1997). The book has been extensively used around the world. A new edition of this popular text book (co-authored with Dr. R. Gehr,) was published in September 2018. He also served as editor and contributor to the monograph Water Supply and Sanitation in Developing Countries.

Many of his research contributions have focused on biological wastewater treatment with modeling applications. He has published over 160 refereed journal and conference papers, among other reports and conference presentations, and co-authored a patent on anaerobic digestion. He served as president of the Canadian Association on Water Quality (a branch of the International Water Association). Ron has advised many agencies in the U.S. and Canada as well as The World Bank, International Development Research Centre, and the Canadian International Development Agency at the international level on a variety of projects. He currently is collaborating with Nankai University in China with students and professors on a wide range of water and wastewater topics. Ron has consulted with Camp, Dresser, McKee (now CDM Smith) and Water Research Centre (WRc, UK) as an advisor on development of software for design of wastewater treatment works. An extensive number of wastewater treatment options are included in the software. The software is now available as freeware from WRc.

Dr. Droste is an emeritus professor in the department of Civil Engineering at the University of Ottawa where he has been a faculty member since 1978 in the area of environmental engineering. He also served as Department Chair. Professor Droste holds a BASc from the University of Notre Dame as well as MASc and PhD degrees from the University of Windsor.

Ron was awarded the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) 1975 Keefer Medal for the best paper on a civil engineering topic for his Master’s work on urban storm water pollution. In 2005 Dr. Droste received the CSCE’s Albert E. Berry Medal for his significant contributions to the field of environmental engineering in Canada. In 2008 he became a fellow of CSCE.

World Water Watch will continue to benefit from Ron’s guidance and support.

Thomas L. Theis

Professor Theis is Director of the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy (IESP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. IESP focuses on the development of new cross-disciplinary research initiatives in the environmental area. He is the erstwhile Bayard D. Clarkson Professor and Director of the Center for Environmental Management at Clarkson University. Professor Theis received his doctoral degree in environmental engineering, with a specialization in environmental chemistry, from the University of Notre Dame. His areas of expertise include industrial ecology, the mathematical modeling and systems analysis of environmental processes, industrial pollution prevention, the environmental chemistry of trace organic and inorganic substances, interfacial reactions, subsurface contaminant transport, and hazardous waste management.

Dr. Theis has been principal or co-principal investigator on over fifty funded research projects and has authored or co-authored over one hundred twenty papers in peer reviewed research journals, books, and reports. In 2011, he and Jonathan Tomkin (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign) co-edited the e-textbook “Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation”. He served as a member of the USEPA Chartered Science Advisory Board (2003-2009), and is past editor of the Journal of Environmental Engineering. From 1980-1985 he was the co-director of the Industrial Waste Elimination Research Center (a collaboration of Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Notre Dame), one of the first Centers of Excellence established by the USEPA. In 1989 he was an invited participant on the United Nations’ Scientific Committee on Problems in the Environment (SCOPE) Workshop on Groundwater Contamination, in 1998 he was invited to by the World Bank to assist in the development of the first environmental engineering program in Argentina, in January, 2009 he delivered the keynote address at the NitroEurope Conference in Gothenburg, Sweden, and in October 2009 he was a member of the US delegation to the US-Japan Workshop on Life Cycle Assessment and Infrastructure Materials in Sapporo, Japan. He is the founding Principal Investigator of the Environmental Manufacturing Management Program.

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