The Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute is one of 54 Institutes in the United States established under Public Law 88-379, the Water Research Act of 1964. The intent of the program then and now is summarized in the Act as follows:
To assist in assuring the Nation at all times of a supply of water sufficient in quantity and quality to meet the requirements of its expanding population, it is the Purpose of the Congress, by this Act, to stimulate, sponsor, provide for, and supplement present programs for the conduct of research, investigations, experiments, and training of scientists in the fields of water and of resources which affect water.
The water resources institute program has been reauthorized several times since 1964. Congressional support for the program has been strong throughout the years, but the level of funding has remained fixed since the early days of the program.
Since 1988, the Institute has developed new thrusts in Environmental Systems graduate education, undergraduate and graduate scholarships, and continuing education, and has developed strong ties to the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet. The Institute was established in 1964 by Dr. Robert A. Lauderdale, who was also a Civil Engineering professor. Since that time, there have been seven other individuals directing the Institute. Dr. Lindell Ormsbee assumed his current position as director in 2004.
Prior to appointment of Dr. Lindell Ormsbee, Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute has been managed by the following directors:
Since its inception, the Institute has sponsored short courses and conferences, supported hundreds of students in many departments and colleges, and produced numerous research reports. Many journal articles have been published by faculty and research staff associated with the Institute.