Arizona Native All About Having Enough Water

Karl Kohlhoff
BS/civil engineering, 1956


Arizona Native All About Having Enough Water
Karl Kohlhoff, a 1956 civil engineering alumnus, cares about water, specifically having enough safe drinking water for generations to come, and he has dedicated his life to that purpose.

It is no wonder one of his favorite Arizona destinations is the Grand Canyon -- Lees Ferry to Mile 187, to be exact -- or that his second home is near Bonita Creek in southeastern Arizona, a fish and wildlife haven with some of the cleanest water in the state.

Arizona born and bred Karl Kohlhoff cares about water, specifically having enough safe drinking water for generations to come. The 1956 UA Engineering alumnus has dedicated his life to that purpose.

“I believe strongly in service, in giving back to the community," said Kohlhoff, an internationally recognized leader in the water industry who was recently inducted into the American Water Works Association, or AWWA, Hall of Fame.

Kohlhoff credits the UA with teaching him how to tackle water challenges.

“At the University of Arizona, engineers are taught to be problem solvers,” said Kohlhoff, who lives in Gilbert, Arizona, and envisions the University leading the efforts for clean water solutions in southern Arizona.

With more than 50 years of experience in water and wastewater system engineering, Kohlhoff has served as president of AWWA and AZ Water and directed water resource programs for the city of Mesa. He was the national technical coordinator with HDR Engineering in Phoenix and serves on a number of industry and UA Engineering advisory boards. He is also on the board of the da Vinci Circle, UA Engineering’s philanthropic organization.

Kohlhoff is writing a book, “The Next Bucket of Water for Arizona and other Partners,” which presents the idea of an international water augmentation consortium and the prospect of a desalination plant near Rocky Point, Mexico in the Gulf of California.

Kohlhoff earned his BS in civil engineering from the University of Arizona in 1956 and his MS in civil engineering and his MPA from the University of Southern California in 1960 and 1969, respectively. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and retired from the Army Reserve as a colonel in 1986. The UA alum has been married to Joan Kohlhoff for 54 years, and they have two grown children, a son and daughter.

Calling UA Engineering Alumni!

Where has life taken you since graduation? We’d like to know and so would your former engineering classmates.
Please email us and include the following information:
• Name and year you graduated
Major and degree (BS, MS, PhD, etc.)
Details of your activities
Don’t forget to include a digital picture of your family, latest project at work, or that boat or hot rod you just finished building in your garage. Vacation photos are great, too. We’ll publish your news and photos online and in the next print edition.
Please send your e-mail to


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