Dr. Alexander Charles Rowney, BSc, BASc, MASc, Ph.D. P.Eng, DWRE, F.EWRI, M.ASCE


It is with great sadness that Urban Watersheds Research Institute (UWRI) reports the loss of one of our great contributors and champions, Dr. Charles Rowney, who passed away on March 1st, 2019. UWRI’s Boards of Directors and Advisors convey our sympathies to his family who lost a husband, brother, father, and grandfather far too soon.

Remembering Charles

Charles was a community-builder.  He believed that water resources and sustainable urban infrastructure required diverse communities from a broad variety of expertise.  He was particularly keen on bridging the science and engineering communities to create approaches to sustainable urban water infrastructure that were more well-rounded.  This manifested itself in his dedicated work to help establish the National Center for Infrastructure Modeling and Management (NCIMM).  It bridged not only engineering and sciences, but practitioners and academic researchers to develop and deliver analytical tools meaningful to the real-world problems that infrastructure managers face whether it was here in the United States or globally.

Community and collaboration were the tenants Charles brought to NCIMM and that ideal is representative of why so many of us feel the loss of Charles from our midst so acutely.  For Charles it was never about what he accomplished, but whether that what he accomplished enabled others to accomplish more.

There were so many of us that knew Charles as a friend as well as colleague and so many, many more who found themselves blessed by having worked with Charles.  We could fill up volumes with our stories of how he blessed our lives and our professional community.  The common denominator for all of us can be summed up in the following excerpts of “What Will Matter” by Michael Josephson:

What will matter is:

Not what you bought, but what you built;

Not your success, but your significance;

Not what you learned, but what you taught;

Every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice for others; and

Not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone.

By these measures and in many other ways, Charles lived a life that mattered.  For this reason, UWRI is providing the opportunity for those he benefited to remember and honor Charles through an ongoing scholarship so that the tremendous life he lived here will continue to matter.