Christopher Neale saluted with national award for irrigation science leadership

by Geitner Simmons | IANR

Christopher Neale
The American Society of Civil Engineers has awarded Christopher Neale, the director of research at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska, a national award for his important contributions to irrigation science in the United States and globally and for his training of irrigation engineers.
March 15, 2022

Lincoln, Neb. —The American Society of Civil Engineers has awarded Christopher Neale, the director of research at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska, a national award for his important contributions to irrigation science in the United States and globally and for his training of irrigation engineers.

In honoring Neale with the 2022 Royce J. Tipton Award, the ASCE saluted him for his “significant contributions on the use of remote sensing for estimating evapotranspiration of agricultural crops, irrigation water management and hydrology, and the education of irrigation engineers.” 

“During his decades-long career, Neale has established himself as a world-renowned authority on applications and advancement of irrigation and drainage engineering through exemplary accomplishments,” the organization said in announcing the award.  

Neale’s research interest has focused on developing remote sensing applications for irrigated agriculture, hydrology and natural resources monitoring. His work in irrigation engineering began in 1984, when he evaluated the performance of automated surface irrigation systems in the Grand Valley of Colorado. In 1988 he joined the faculty at Utah State University as a professor of irrigation engineering. There, he established the university’s Remote Sensing Services Laboratory.  

A low-cost airborne remote sensing system he developed is used in the western U.S. to map spatially distributed energy balance and evapotranspiration of riparian and agricultural vegetation.  

Neale joined the University of Nebraska in 2013 and oversees the Water for Food Institute’s research efforts, engaging faculty in new projects and initiating partnerships with organizations and universities worldwide. He holds a doctorate in agricultural engineering from Colorado State University and has led numerous national and international partnerships and projects to foster and improve irrigation management in the U.S., Middle East and North Africa, India, Brazil, and Kazakhstan. 

His most recent international projects were in the Dominican Republic, where he used aerial photography and remote sensing to map and monitor irrigated agriculture and developed a comprehensive database of irrigation water users in a GIS environment. 

Neale is president of the international Commission on Remote Sensing of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences. He is a founding partner and executive committee member of the Irrigation Innovation Consortium. 

He has authored or co-authored 196 peer-reviewed publications, and they have been cited more than 5,700 times. He has served as the major advisor to 23 master’s students and 21 doctoral students. 

Geitner Simmons | IANR Media