Rob Sowby, Brigham Young University


Great Salt Lake: From Afterthought to Asset

rob sowby


Great Salt Lake has been at its lowest level in decades, imperiling regional ecosystems, air quality, and economies. Reversing the decline may be the grand challenge of the decade for the Intermountain West, taking a coordinated effort of policy, planning, and especially engineering. From pipes to sensors to databases, engineering solutions are playing a major role in its immediate recovery and its long-term health. Once an afterthought of water priorities, Great Salt Lake is now being elevated to the status of a precious asset.

Dedicated to advancing sustainable water resources, Dr. Rob Sowby is a licensed professional engineer with expertise in the planning, design, construction, and operation of water systems. At BYU he is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, where he teaches environmental engineering, urban water infrastructure, and water treatment. He mentors students in the Sustainability Lab, which launched in 2021 to address interdisciplinary research needs in sustainable infrastructure. Dr. Sowby studied civil engineering at Brigham Young University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Utah and practiced for 10 years in industry before coming to BYU. His other interests include business, German literature, and classical music.