Environmental Champion: Debabrata Sahoo


Woolpert loves the earth, and we try to show it. To celebrate Earth Day 2018, we are featuring a few Woolpert employees with a passion for this planet—and those who live on it.


Debabrata Sahoo, PhD, PE, PH
Senior Water Resources Engineer
Columbia, SC

An expert in…
Watershed hydrology and water quality, Debabrata (Deb) Sahoo is a water resources engineer who focuses on monitoring and modeling water resources systems. Deb has a passion for water quality and reducing human impact on the environment.

It all started…
As a child in Rourkela, India. Though he lived in town, Deb spent his summers at his maternal grandfather’s farm in the country, eating mangoes from high in the trees, swimming in the river, plucking vegetables, chasing domestic animals and helping sow seeds. It was in this “native place” that he developed an appreciation of and love for the environment.


Deb still has a passion for the countryside. He escapes the concrete jungle of urban Columbia to spend time at local lakes, take his family to pick fruit and hike in national forests. It’s here that he connects with the environment he loves.

Inspired by…

  • Maternal grandfather, Narahari Sahoo, who demonstrated sustainable agriculture practices on his small farm
  • Charles Darwin, whose environmental observations helped the world understand “survival of the fittest”
  • Pat Mulholland, a pre-eminent scientist in in-stream nutrient cycling, who led valuable water quality research
  • Salim Ali, aka “The Birdman of India,” who was the father of Indian ornithology

At Woolpert…
Deb would love to show the next generation how impactful our work can be. From creating interior gardens to providing incentives for employees to grow their own food locally, we can demonstrate how to reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

Looking ahead…
Deb is wrapping up development of a watershed water quality model that will help to explain the water quality dynamics of rivers draining into lakes. Widely applicable by a variety of agencies, this model is one of the first in the region to involve stakeholders from beginning to end, helping to build attachment to a successful end result.


Deb Sahoo, PhD, PE, PH

Dr. Deb Sahoo lives in the big data world of water quality. He dives deep into high-frequency water data, building water quality computer models to better understand the impact of stormwater and human development on water bodies. Deb also teaches, mentors and collaborates with researches at local universities, and he has worked closely with the U.S. EPA to address water quality issues.


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