Banks, Harvey O. Papers

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1910-03-29
Death 1996-09-22

Biographical notes:

Biography / Administrative History

Harvey Oren Banks (1910-1996) was born in Chaumont, New York on March 29, 1910. He obtained his bachelor's degree in civil engineering at Syracuse University. From there he went on to attend Stanford University where he obtained his Master's degree in hydraulic and sanitary engineering. Between the years 1934 and 1955, Mr. Banks worked as an engineer in different capacities for various bodies including the Cities of Palo Alto and Los Angeles, the United States Soil Conservation Service, and as an engineer for the California Division of Water Resources.

In 1956, California Governor Goodwin Knight appointed Mr. Banks as the first director of the newly founded California Department of Water Resources. Soon after his appointment, Mr. Banks began work on developing the legislation and infrastructure for what would become the California State Water Project. The extensive project protected areas of origin, fostered wildlife conservation and required co-operation between state, federal and local agencies. It was to be financed by a state-wide bond measure, which passed in 1960. The next year, Mr. Banks left the Department of Water Resources and joined the consulting firm of Leeds, Hill, and Jewett, Inc where he served as president and chairman of the board until 1969. He left that year to found his own engineering consulting firm. Except for the years between 1977 and 1982 when he joined the company Camp, Dresser and McKee, he worked as an independent consulting engineer.

In his work as an independent consultant and in his work with other companies, Mr. Banks was involved with projects nationally as well as internationally. Throughout his career he continued to serve the state of California working on the California Water Plan, and for various municipalities throughout the state. Nationally, his major projects include his work on developing, formulating and implementing a long range water plan for the State of Texas, serving as project director on the 6-state High Plains-Ogallala Aquifer Regional Resources Study, and as an expert witness in the litigation between the State of New Mexico and Texas over water rights to the Rio Grande River. He served as an expert witness for both federal and state court cases involving various aspects of water rights and water control and management.

In addition to his consulting work, he also served on state and federal panels throughout the United States and served on international commissions and committees. He published extensively on water resources management and water law. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1973, and served as an honorary member of both the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Water Works Association. Among his many awards are: the ASCE Julian Hinds Award in 1976 for his distinguished service in the planning, development, and management of water resources; the 1973 Royce J Tipton Award from the ASCE for his contributions to irrigation; the 1980 Icko Iben Award from the American Water Resources Association for promotion and multidisciplinary planning of water resources. Throughout his career, he was a staunch advocate of environmental values and believed that such values could be harmonized with human needs and with economic growth and development.

In recognition of his outstanding work on the California Water Project, the first pumping plant on the California Aqueduct was named the Harvey O. Banks Pumping Plant.

Mr. Banks worked until shortly before his death from Leukemia in 1996.

From the guide to the Harvey O. Banks papers, 1940-1995, 1969-1986, (Water Resources Collections and Archives)

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Subjects:

  • Water--Law and legislation--United States
  • Fishes--Conservation
  • Water resources development--Power supply
  • Water resources development--Costs
  • Water districts--Law and legislation
  • Water resources development--Recreational use
  • Hydrology - - New Mexico - - Maps
  • Nuclear energy--Law and legislation
  • Water in agriculture--Research
  • Water supply, Agricultural
  • Saline water conversion--Law and legislation
  • Hydrology California Maps
  • Groundwater
  • Flood control
  • Water-power
  • Water quality management
  • Water rights
  • Water-supply
  • Hydrology - - Missouri - - Maps
  • Water resources development
  • Watershed management
  • Water reuse
  • anadromous fishes
  • Water resources development--Government policy
  • Public works
  • Engineering geologists
  • Well drillers--Licenses
  • Hydrology--Maps
  • Soils--Research
  • Water and environmental programs (U.S.)
  • Water conservation
  • Radioactive pollution of water
  • Land use--Planning
  • Water-supply--Cost
  • Water resources development--Law and legislation
  • Water-supply--Rates
  • Water resources development--Finance
  • Water--Law and legislation

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Rio Grande Valley (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • High Plains Aquifer (as recorded)
  • California--Sacramento (as recorded)
  • Missouri (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Central Valley Project (Calif.) - - Management (as recorded)
  • California--Eel River Watershed (as recorded)
  • Contra Costa Water District (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Santa Ana River Watershed (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • San Francisco Bay Watershed (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • New Mexico (as recorded)
  • Delta Region (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • East Bay Municipal Utility District (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • Feather River (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California, Southern (as recorded)
  • Feather River (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Salton Sea (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Sacramento - - San Joaquin Delta (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • American River (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California--Delta Region (as recorded)
  • West (U.S.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California--Oroville (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • American River (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • Santa Ana River Watershed (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • Delta Region (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • San Francisco Bay Watershed (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California--Sacramento (as recorded)
  • California--Eel River (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California--Delta Region (as recorded)
  • California--Delta Region (as recorded)
  • Rio Grande Valley (Colo.-Mexico and Tex.) (as recorded)
  • Salton Sea (Calif.) (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • California (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)
  • High Plains Aquifer (as recorded)