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Directory profile for Dr. Steven Burian

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  • 1043C Cyber Hall
  • Phone (205) 348-4037
  • Email
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Dr. Steven Burian

Professor, Director of Science at the Alabama Water Institute


  • 1043C Cyber Hall
  • phone (205) 348-4037
  • Email

Research Areas


  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, The University of Alabama, 1999
  • M.S.E., Environmental Engineering, The University of Alabama, 1995
  • B.S. Civil Engineering; University of Notre Dame, 1993

Dr. Steve Burian is a Professor of Hydrology and Water Resources in Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama. He also serves as the Director of Science at the Alabama Water Institute.

Dr. Burian helps to catalyze multi-disciplinary water initiatives in research, education, global engagement, and community impact. His research group develops solutions to reduce risk from floods and other water-related hazards, improve performance of water systems from building to urban scales, and protect clean water. Using computer modeling, hydroinformatics, systems analysis, and field studies, his research group: contributes to the engineering of sustainable and resilient urban water infrastructure systems, including stormwater, wastewater, and water supply; works in partnership with local stakeholders, such as the Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities; and is supported by local, federal, and international funding sources.

In teaching, he advances the use of project-based learning to build soft skills of students and to address critical local and global water problems in courses such as Water Resources Planning and Management, Hydroinformatics, and Sustainable Urban Water Engineering. Inspired by his long-term participation in the ASCE ExCEEd Teaching Workshop, Dr. Burian passionately embraces opportunities to advance educational systems, and mentor students and early career faculty.

Dr. Burian has led the mentoring and professional development of thousands of faculty members in the U.S. and numerous other countries in formal and informal training programs, such as the Wasatch Experience Sustainability Teaching Workshop at the University of Utah and the National Faculty Development Program for the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. In 2019, recognizing his effort advancing faculty capacities and higher education systems in Pakistan, Dr. Burian was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan.

Affiliated Areas
Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Alabama Water Institute

Selected Publications

  • Shin, S., Aziz, D., Jabeen, U., Bano, R., and Burian, S.J. (2021). “A trade-off balance among urban water infrastructure improvements and financial management to achieve water sustainability.” Urban Water Journal, 1-13, DOI: 10.1080/1573062X.2021.1992452.
  • Brooks, P.D., Gelderoos, A., Wolf, M.A., Jamison, L.R., Strong, C., Solomon, D.K., Bowen, G.J., Burian, S.J., Tai, X., Arens, S., Briefer, L., Kirkham, T., and Steward, J. (2021). “Groundwater-mediated memory of past climate controls water yield in snowmelt-dominated catchments.” Water Resources Research, 57(10),
  • Su, J.-Y., Goel, R., Burian, S.J., Hinners, S.J., Kochanski, A., Strong, C., and Barber, M.E. (2021). “Water quality trading framework with uncertainty for river systems due to climate and population characteristics.” International Journal of Environmental Impacts, 4(1), 77-89, DOI: 10.2495/EI-V4-N1-77-89.
  • Lee, S., Pomeroy, C., Burian, S. (2021). “Setting future water rates for sustainability of a water distribution system.” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 147(2), 04020108.
  • Johnson, R.C., Wolf, M., Jamison, L., Burian, S., Oroza, C.A., Brooks, P.D., Strong, C., Stewart, J., Kirkham, T. (2021). “Drought in the west: Embedded water demand stationarity compromises system vulnerability analysis.” Open Water Journal, 7(1), 6.
  • Wescoat Jr., J.L., Ahmed, W., Burian, S., Punthakey, J.F., and Shahid, A. (2021). “Examining irrigated agriculture in Pakistan with a water-energy-food nexus approach.” In M. A. Watto, M. Mitchell, & S. Bashir (Eds.), Water resources of Pakistan: issues and impacts (pp. 155-183). Cham: Springer.

Awards and Honors

  • 2021 ASCE Utah Section Engineering Educator of the Year
  • 2020 Excellence in Global Engagement Award, University of Utah
  • 2019 Professor of the Year, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Utah
  • 2019 Awarded Pakistan Civil Award “Sitara-i-Imtiaz” by President of Pakistan
  • 2016 Outstanding Teacher, College of Engineering, University of Utah

Dr. Burian's Impact

UA To Train Needed Workforce for Water Operations and Forecasting

The University of Alabama has been awarded $3 million from the National Science Foundation to establish a unique hydrologic science research and training program for graduate students.

UA Awarded $360 Million to Lead National Water Effort

With transformative support of up to $360 million over the next five years from the federal government, The University of Alabama is poised to become a standard bearer in translating water research into operations that improve the nation’s ability to predict water-related hazards and effectively manage water resources.

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