Water Resources Consulting Services

Water Resources Consulting Services

Rick Van Bruggen, PE, CFM, D. WRE

P.O. Box 13837 Palm Desert, CA 92255

About the Expert

Mr. Van Bruggen has over 35 years of Water Resources Engineering experience, and 25 years of Expert Witness experience, in matters pertaining to watershed hydrology, river and floodplain hydraulics, highway drainage system design, flood control and storm drain systems, dams and levees, reservoir operations, forensics of flood events and drownings.

Areas of Expertise

  • Civil Engineering
  • Hydrology (Water Issues)

Expert's Videos

Rick Van Bruggen Interview with ASCE on Being an Expert Witness

Expert's Profile

Mr. Van Bruggen is an Expert Witness Hydrologist and Water Resources Engineer for the analysis of floods, flooding and floodplains, stormwater and drainage, dams and reservoirs, rivers, streams and storm sewers. He is an expert in, and testifies on, the hydrology of flood events and the hydraulics of storm water, highway drainage or irrigation systems. He investigates floods, roadway vehicle accidents and drownings.

Mr. Van Bruggen has over thirty years of engineering experience specializing in the use of systems engineering and modeling techniques to define and evaluate surface water resource systems, forensic hydrology and hydraulics, and alternative flood control measures. He has been Northern California Chapter President and a founding Board Member of the Forensic Expert Witness Association, reflecting distinguished and considerable experience testifying as an expert witness. He has testified in over one hundred cases to date, representing both the defense and the plaintiffs at an approximate 50% split. Mr. Van Bruggen has case experience ranging from the Standard of Care for the design of storm drain systems or operation of reservoir systems to the hydraulic factors leading to a wrongful death by drowning. He has performed hydraulic environmental impact analyses, redefined floodplains and developed storm drain master plans.

Mr. Van Bruggen has both a B.S. and M.S. degree from UCLA in Water Resources Engineering. He is also a Diplomate, Water Resources Engineer, recognized by the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers, a Division of ASCE, as a renowned surface water hydrology and hydraulics expert. He worked for the Los Angeles District of the Army Corps Of Engineers for four years where he was a Project Manager, where he developed and screened alternatives for flood control and other civil and military construction projects and conducted public workshops for community review. He then worked as a Project Engineer for two prominent national civil engineering consulting firms. He has, most recently, been the owner of, and Principal Engineer for, WRCS for the past 25 years. Mr. Van Bruggen is licensed as a Registered Professional Engineer in California (RCE #41202), Nevada (RCE #10324) and Arizona (RCE #27078) and Oregon (RCE #79574).

Personal Achievements


  • M.S. IN WATER RESOURCES ENGINEERING University of California, Los Angeles, California
  • B.S. IN WATER RESOURCES ENGINEERING University of California, Los Angeles, California



Special Training

  • Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM), Association of State Floodplain Managers, 2015.


  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC)
  • Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA)
  • American Public Works Association (APWA)
  • Floodplain Management Association of California (FMA)


  • DIPLOMATE, WATER RESOURCES ENGINEER (D.WRE) American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE)


  • PERFECT STORM: The Science Behind Subrogating Catastrophic Flood Losses

Prior assignments

  • City and State Storm Drain System and Stream Channel Design Evaluations, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Hydraulic Evaluation of Municipal Storm Drain System Using XP-SWMM Model, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • State Highway System Drainage Design Investigations, Alameda and Orange Counties, California.
  • Evaluation Of Irrigation District's Reservoir Operations and Their Impacts On Downstream Levee Failures, San Joaquin County, California.
  • Hydraulic Forensics of Sacramento Valley Levee System Failure, San Joaquin River System, California.
  • State Levee Project Hydraulic Evaluation, Bethel Island, San Joaquin Valley, California.
  • Hydraulic Modeling of Train Trestle’s Effect on Winery Flooding, Napa, California.
  • Forensic Re-enactment of Dam Failure Scenarios, Kauai, Hawaii.
  • Review of Professional Standards for Reservoir Release Decisions and Their Effects on Downstream Flooding, Cowlitz River, Washington.
  • Hydrologic Modeling of Flood Releases From Hydroelectric Dams by State Power Authority, Santee-Cooper River system, South Carolina.
  • Effects of Reservoir Releases on Downstream Flooding During Hurricane Event, Escatawpa River, Mississippi.
  • Evaluation of Dam Hydraulics and Project Signage in Connection With Drowning, Lynchburg, Virginia.
  • Modeling of Hydraulic Conditions Surrounding Multiple Drownings, Ohio River, West Virginia.
  • Hydraulic Evaluation Of COE River Structure Linked To Drowning, Picayune, Mississippi.
  • Detailed Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling of Reservoir Spillway Operations by Electric Utility Leading to an Increase In Downstream Flooding , Grand Prarie Texas.

Percentage of time spent as expert

  • 90%

Number of expert assignments / year

  • 24

More Information

Listed in the Following States

Water Resources Consulting Services is listed with ExpertPages in the following jurisdictions: All US Regions and States, Canada (all Provinces).