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Hydrology, Flood, Water Engineering Expert / Consultant                     
Dr. Ronald K. Christensen, Ph.D., P.E., J.D. 


I combine Ph.D. level engineering expertise and 32 years of practical hands-on engineering experience with a lawyer's training in analysis and argument. I am known for my technical excellence and skill in analyzing and solving hydrology and water engineering problems.  I have excellent skills in providing expert analyses including expert evaluations and reports, expert testimony, and expert assistance with reviewing and questioning opposing expert’s analyses and testimony.  I think and speak the language of both engineering/technical experts and attorneys.

Specific areas of expertise include:

  • Hydrology / River Hydraulics / Hydrogeology / Groundwater / Modeling
  • Flooding / Floodplains and mapping / Storm Drainage / Flood Insurance Studies
  • Dams / Spillways / Reservoirs -- Safety / Designs / Hydraulics / Modeling
  • Sediment / Erosion / Deposition – Control / BMP’s / Modeling
  • Water Quality / Drinking Water / Salinity / Contaminants – Modeling / Permits
  • Canals / Pipelines / Water Systems -- Safety / Designs / Hydraulics
  • Tunnels / Hydropower -- Safety / Designs / Hydraulics
  • Water Rights Evaluations / Hydrographic Surveys / Compacts
  • Wetlands / Endangered Species / Permitting
  • Federal Reclamation Regulations / Rights / Contracts / History



Expert in hydrologic and hydraulic analyses of rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, river basins, urban storm drainages, groundwater, and wells including expert witness evaluations and testimony. Have provided expert witness analyses and testimony throughout the United States and Canada.  I provide expert evaluation of all aspects of hydrologic systems including precipitation, storm/flood runoff, river/stream flood depth, snowmelt, river and bridge hydraulics, spillway and reservoir operations, detention basins, canals, culverts, groundwater, wells, streamflow and other climatological measurements and data analyses, water supply management and conservation, watershed and river management and modeling, and endangered species habitat and enhancement.  Have modeled numerous watersheds, river basins, lakes, and reservoirs for storm flood runoff, water supply, river management, and watershed management including both water quantity and quality assessments.  Have evaluated and modeled urban hydrologic systems for runoff and flooding. Have evaluated well performance and yields and have measured streamflows, precipitation, snowfall and snowmelt, and all other climatological parameters.  Have completed numerous other statistical analyses and operational analyses of hydrologic data and hydrologic systems.


Expert in all types of floods and flooding including Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Insurance Studies, floodplain mapping, urban storm water drainage, and flood hydrology and hydraulics.  Have performed numerous flooding analyses of wildland watersheds, rivers, streams, lakes, urbran storm drainage, and flood control systems.  Have expert witness experience in depositions, discovery assistance, affidavits, trial testimony, and engineering analyses of hurricane floods, reservoir and spillway flood operations, river levee breaches, urban flooding, and storm drain design and construction throughout the United States and in Canada and Australia.  Have completed analyses or designs of numerous storm drains, detention basins, large reservoirs and spillways, canals, and FEMA flood insurance studies and mapping.


Expert in reservoir operations and hydrologic/hydraulic design of dams, levees, spillways and reservoirs. Have completed numerous reservoir operations studies, flood control studies, spillway evaluations/designs, and dam break analyses. Have participated in dam and spillway inspections and analyses including analysis and preparation of U.S. Corps of Engineers Phase I Inspection reports. Have expert witness experience in depositions, discovery assistance, affidavits, trial testimony, and engineering analyses for flood, hurricane, levee, spillway, and reservoir operations in Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, and Australia.


Expert in erosion analysis and control and river sediment analysis, management, and removal.  Have provided expert witness analysis and testimony for a levee breach in Missouri, for logging related erosion in California, and for freeway storm drainage erosion in Nevada including evaluation of sediment control Best Management Practices (BMPs).  Have performed many other erosion control studies, and sediment management and removal studies and modeling. Have conducted erosion surveys, predicted construction sediment yields, estimated river sediment transport and loads, constructed erosion control structures, designed and constructed sedimentation basins.


Expert in analyses and evaluations of water quality including drinking water systems, wells, riverine and lake water quality issues, and salinity management.  Have provided expert witness analyses and testimony for lake, well, and groundwater contamination issues in Illinois, Florida, Utah, and Canada.  Have performed water quality computer modeling studies and salinity management and modeling studies of many rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Have conducted water quality sampling, laboratory analysis, and monitoring of rivers, lakes, recreation areas, and springs


Expert in canals and large diameter pipelines designs, operations, and safety. Have provided expert witness analysis and testimony regarding capacity, operations, and costs of municipal wells and water systems and safety of canals.  Have sized, designed and managed construction of irrigation canals, pressure pipelines, diversion structures, screening devices, check structures, meters, bridges, culverts, canal linings and seepage control. Have evaluated irrigation canal operations, maintenance, inspections, and safety. Have estimated crop consumptive use requirements.  Have designed and/or reviewed designs for water conveyance pipelines ranging from 8-inches to 96-inches in diameter.  Have performed canal break investigations and have completed pipeline design, sizing, and hydraulic analyses for water supply and irrigation aqueducts and canals throughout the western United States. Have completed water system network analyses for city water systems and city water master plans. Have completed cost estimates and performed water system repayment and rate studies.


Expert in evaluation of water transmission tunnels and in design and evaluation of pump stations, hydropower systems, and penstocks including evaluation of water hammer and other hydraulic transients, hydraulic performance and safety, energy output, rate studies, and energy marketing. Have performed water tunnel inspections, evaluations, and remedial designs. Have completed conceptual designs and evaluations of pump stations and hydropower facilities including feasibility studies, cost estimating, hydraulic performance studies, power capacity and energy production studies, power rate studies, and economic feasibility studies


Expert in water right assessments and evaluations. Have provided expert witness testimony in a water rights beneficial use case.  Have completed various water rights related investigations involving most of the major river systems of the Western U.S. including water rights accounting modeling, evaluation of interstate river compacts, and evaluation of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water rights, laws, and contracts. Have completed water right title abstracts and title train analyses. Have completed water rights valuations and water rights yield analyses throughout the Western United States. Have completed and reviewed state water right hydrographic surveys. Have prepared state water right proofs for wells and hydroelectric plants, have prepared water right applications and change applications, and have participated in state engineer water right hearings. Have evaluated water right impacts of dam removals.


Expert in wetlands regulation and in endangered species and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) hydrologic impact evaluations and permitting.  Provided expert analyses of U.S. Corps of Engineers wetlands regulations for claimed wetlands violations in Utah.  Have evaluated wetlands problems and issues for management and diversions from swamps, streams, lakes, and groundwater. Have evaluated needs for 404 stream and wetlands alteration permits. Have evaluated hydrologic effects of canal lining on adjacent wetland areas.  Have reviewed and made comments on interagency endangered species habitat hydrologic evaluations including comments on study assumptions, findings, and recommendations.  Have completed permitting hydrologic analyses including analyses of both surface runoff and groundwater movement and pumping issues.  Have participated in NEPA compliance hearings, scoping meetings, and public involvement meetings. Have reviewed and assisted in preparation of environmental impact statements.  Hold a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from University of Utah College of Law.


Expert in U.S. Bureau of Reclamation procedures, regulations, repayment, and contracts. Extensively researched history and federal/state laws governing U.S. Bureau of Reclamation water supply projects. Evaluated rights and interests of water users in numerous Reclamation project water repayment contracts including water rights and rights to hydropower and other revenues. Evaluated effect on state water right interests of a proposed draining of Lake Powell and a proposed decommissioning and removal of Glen Canyon Dam.