Donald H. Neudeck


Special Recognition Award

The following is the text found on the Special Recognition Award presented to Donald H. Neudeck, (Retired), California Department of Water Resources, at the 2010 California Extreme Precipitation Symposium held at the University of California, Davis on June 23, 2010.

Special Recognition Award

Presented To

Donald H. Neudeck

This award is presented to you in recognition of a lifetime of service in flood management in California. For over 30 years (prior to your retirement in 1988) you guided the Department of Water Resources in its flood warning and flood fighting activities. Your foresight and enthusiasm helped establish the Flood Operations Center where your voice was considered by the media and the public as the authoritative source of information during major flood events in California, especially the Central Valley and the coastal regions. You worked closely with the National Weather Service, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, reservoir operators, and first emergency responders during major floods, such as the 1986 flood, to reduce flood risk and protect lives and property.

You were also a major contributor to the development of the California Data Exchange Center (CDEC), a data bank for sharing real-time flood, hydrologic, and related information. Both CDEC and the Flood Operations Center capabilities have continued to grow over the years since you retired, but the people of this State are indebted to you for your vision and initial support of these important programs. We are pleased to honor you today for your years of service to all of us.

June 23, 2010

California Extreme Precipitation Symposium

Professional Background

Donald Neudeck
Donald Neudeck

I started my career with the Department of Water Resources in 1954. Working as a Junior Civil Engineer in Water Quality and participating in the Salt Routing Studies for the Bay Area Barrier Plan.

By 1956, I was promoted to Chief of Levee Inspection for the State of California, Department of Water Resources. Some of my responsibilities included:

  • Maintenance and inspection of 2,000 miles of project levees within the Sacramento and San Joaquin watershed
  • Coordinating activities with 130 Reclamation Districts in the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley
  • Preparing annual reports
  • Management of employees
  • Collaborating with State Reclamation Board in selecting sites needing repair for the Sacramento River Bank Protection Program

In the year 1970, I became Chief of Flood Operations for the State of California Department of Water Resources. My duties included:

  • Management of State Flood Operations Center
  • Providing flood warnings and information services to the news media, general public and local, state and federal agencies
  • Supervision of large-scale flood operations
  • Providing strategic policy development in Disaster Preparedness Programs
  • Developing policies on maintenance of State and Federal flood control projects
  • Primary liaison in flood control issues with the US Corp of Engineers, US Bureau of Reclamation, United States Geological Survey, State Department of Forestry and Office of Emergency Services
  • Assisting the Director of Water Resources in briefing the California State Legislature


  • Established the California Data Exchange Center to provide real-time hydrologic date to State and Federal agencies and the public
  • Developed an integrated statewide rainfall and snowpack telemetry system in conjunction with the National Weather Service
  • Directed the Drought Information Center to provide assistance on drought-related water conditions for farming, recreation, water supply, and conservation. Assisted in providing State and Federal local assistance loans

Other Professional Activities

  • Member of the US Corps of Engineers Special Task Force to review levee conditions and making recommendations on improvements to the Sacramento and San Joaquin flood control system
  • Prepared and/or presented expert testimony before the State Legislative Committees, State Reclamation Board, County Board of Supervisors, California Water Commission and others
  • Expert witness for the State Attorney General's Office on issues related to flood damage, right -of-way and maintenance and liability suits
  • Frequent speaker to professional organizations and service clubs
  • Featured on radio and television, and in numerous print articles providing flood and water conditions throughout the State of California
  • Consultant to Reclamation Districts on levee matters


  • Directors Award for Excellence in Management, 1982
  • Numerous Outstanding Service Awards from the Governor, the California State Legislature and others

Selected Publications

  • "Flood Fight Manual", State of California Department of Water Resources, 1988
  • "Annual Publication of Flood Control Operations", State of California Department of Water Resources

At the Event