News Release Archive

David Raff named as Reclamation's Chief Engineer

Media Contact: Linda Friar, 202-513-0544,
Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615,

For Release: May 28, 2020

David Raff
David Raff
WASHINGTON - Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman named David Raff, Ph.D., PE, D.WRE as Chief Engineer. Reclamation is a preeminent engineering organization with world-wide recognition for excellence in engineering and science. As the Chief Engineer, Dr. Raff will direct Reclamation's engineering and scientific programs in Technical Services, Dam Safety and Infrastructure, Hydropower, Research and Development, and Water Planning.

The role of the Chief Engineer dates back to the beginning of Reclamation in 1902. Out of use for several decades, we have recreated this historic position for the 21st Century. Today, the Chief Engineer will provide modern day leadership in the accomplishment of Reclamation's mission. It will complement Reclamation's ongoing role in the development, maintenance, and operation of water and power infrastructure in the west. "This position reinforces the legacy of Reclamation's professional excellence, science-based decision making, technical rigor, and construction quality," said Deputy Commissioner of Operations, David Palumbo.

"David Raff brings unique skills and knowledge to this key position for Reclamation," said Commissioner Burman. "David's background as an engineer and scientist with extensive experience at Reclamation and with the Army Corps of Engineers, a broad educational background, and leadership in applied science and technology will ensure we continue Reclamation's role as an international leader in the delivery of reliable water and power to agriculture, municipalities, industries, ecosystems, and recreation."

Raff began his career with Reclamation providing technical leadership to assessments of Dam Safety and developing new and novel approaches to water resources forecasting and projections. He was also instrumental in developing Reclamation's implementation of the SECURE Water Act and drafting its first report to Congress, which identified the vulnerabilities and risks to water management in the major basins of the western United States. In recognition of work with Reclamation, Raff received the Department of the Interior's Superior Service Award.

Raff was named as Reclamation's Science Advisor in February 2014. In this position, he served as Reclamation's Scientific Integrity Officer — promoting data quality, peer review, and ensuring adherence to the Department of the Interior's Scientific and Scholarly Integrity Policy while overseeing Reclamation's Research and Development and Water Resources and Planning Offices. Raff had returned to Reclamation at that time after working as the Senior Hydrologic and Hydraulic Engineer with the Institute for Water Resources in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In that position, he worked with the water resources community to identify opportunities to incorporate climate variability information to promote reliable water resources management across the United States.

Raff works with multiple federal inter-agency committees, including the National Drought Resilience Partnership. He served as a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and American Geophysical Union. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Colorado and is board certified as a Diplomate, Water Resources Engineering by the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers.

Raff earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University, a Master of Science in Rangeland Ecosystem Science from Colorado State University and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Tufts University.

# # #

The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.