Ven Te Chow

Ven Te Chow (周文德; October 7, 1919, Hangzhou, China, – July 30, 1981),[1] was an engineer and educator. He was a widely recognized hydrologist and engineer throughout the world, acclaimed for his contributions to hydrology and water resources development.

He was a professor of Civil and Hydrosystems Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his B.S. degree in civil engineering from the National Chiao Tung University in 1940, his M.S. degree in engineering mechanics from Pennsylvania State University in 1948, and his Ph.D. degree in hydraulic engineering from the University of Illinois in 1950.

Chow joined the faculty of the University of Illinois in the Department of Civil Engineering in 1948 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1962. Some of his unusual contributions include his watershed experimentation system, which produced storms in the laboratory using sophisticated electronic, pneumatic, and sonar controls. At the time it was one of the most sophisticated laboratories in the world for physical hydrology and attracted worldwide attention and interest among scientists, engineers, and the public. It was the subject of an article that appeared in Life magazine on June 6, 1969,[2] and was also addressed in the 1969 March issue of Public Works magazine.

With this unique instrumentation, he introduced a new field of technology known as watershed hydraulics. He also developed a formula for hydrologic frequency drainage design, a method of backwater curve computation.

Chow was the founder and first president of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA). Under Ven Te Chow's leadership, the IWRA began publishing the academic journal Water International in 1975.[3] Over the last 49 years, IWRA has actively promoted the sustainable management of water resources around the globe and become one of the most influential organizations in the field of water.

The IWRA Ven Te Chow Memorial Award was created by the IWRA in his memory. The award includes a lecture, to be delivered at its triennial World Water Congresses.[4]

Recipients of the Ven Te Chow Memorial Award
Year Recipient
1988 Vujica M. Yevjevich
1991 Malin Falkenmark
1994 Andras Szollosi-Nagy
1996 Ben Chie Yen
1997 Glenn E. Stout
2000 Janusz Kindler
2003 Asit K. Biswas
2005 Benedito Braga
2008 John Pigram
2011 Peter H. Gleick
2015 Rabi Mohtar
2017 V. P. Singh and William N. Lehrer
2020 Soontak Lee

American Society of Civil Engineers established Ven Te Chow Award in his memory to recognize the lifetime achievements in the field of hydrologic engineering.[5] The award is administered by the Surface Water Hydrology Technical Committee of the Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI). The award ceremony and lecture are held at annual World Environmental & Water Resources Congress.

Recipients of ASCE/EWRI Ven Te Chow Award
Year Recipient
2020 George Kuczera
2019 Richard M. Vogel
2018 Rao S. Govindaraju
2017 Keith W. Hipel
2016 Soroosh Sorooshian
2015 Larry W. Mays
2014 Richard H. McCuen
2013 Jery R. Stedinger
2012 Slobadan P. Simonovic
2011 Ramachandra Rao
2010 David Maidment
2009 Jose D. Salas
2008 M. Levent Kavvas
2007 Stephen J. Burges
2006 Leo R. Beard
2005 David R. Dawdy
2004 Vijay P. Singh
2003 Norman H. Crawford
2002 Jacques W. Delleur
2001 Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe
2000 Robert A. Clark
1999 James E. Nash
1998 Vit Klemes
1997 James C. I. Dooge
1996 Vujica Yevjevich


  • Ven Te Chow (1959). Open-channel hydraulics. McGraw-Hill. OCLC 4010975.


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