Matthew Ries

Dr. Matthew Ries is the Chief of Water Quality and Watershed Management at DC Water in Washington, District of Columbia (DC), USA. DC Water provides more than 681,000 residents and 21.3 million annual visitors in DC with retail water and wastewater (sewer) service. With a total service area of approximately 725 square miles (1900 km2), DC Water also treats wastewater for approximately 1.6 million people in neighboring jurisdictions, including Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in the state of Maryland and Fairfax and Loudoun counties in the commonwealth of Virginia.

In his position, Dr. Ries is responsible for providing technical, informational, and stakeholder engagement that will improve watersheds serving DC, among other programmatic and operational responsibilities. He frequently coordinates with regional water utilities and local, state, and federal governmental agencies on water management collaboration. Dr. Ries is also engaged with DC Water’s Innovation program, analyzing the methods and procedures used to generate non-ratepayer revenue streams and leverage DC Water’s research and development programs.

Before DC Water, Dr. Ries was the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at the Water Environment Federation (WEF) in Alexandria, Virginia, USA for 12 years. As CTO he oversaw WEF’s education and training programs including WEFTEC, the world’s largest annual water conference and exhibition; WEF’s technical committees; and initiatives on stormwater, innovation, sustainability, and nutrients, among others. Dr. Ries launched WEF’s Stormwater Institute in 2015 and oversaw the expert convening and subsequent development of the seminal report, Rainfall to Results: The Future of Stormwater, produced in conjunction with the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread. Related, Dr. Ries was a frequent contributor to the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread’s 2008 to 2014 Charting New Waters collaborations aimed to catalyze the widespread adoption of more sustainable and resilient water infrastructure systems in the United States.

Dr. Ries also worked for 10 years as a consultant in the planning, design, construction, and startup of municipal and industrial water, wastewater, and stormwater facilities.  His stormwater projects included the design and construction oversight of stormwater best management practices using both natural and engineered systems for industrial and municipal stormwater management.

He is a registered Professional Engineer in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He has a Bachelors of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Valparaiso University, a Masters of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, and a PhD in Civil Engineering at the University of South Florida where he is also a courtesy professor at the Patel College of Global Sustainability. Dr. Ries’ dissertation focused on the development of an urban water sustainability index and the connection between urban water utility organizational attributes and sustainability. 

Dr. Ries recently served for five years on the Board of Directors of Alexandria Renew Enterprises, the water resource recovery (wastewater) facility in Alexandria, Virginia, USA. He also served as a Director of the Alliance for Water Stewardship, a global network that promotes responsible use of freshwater that is socially and economically beneficial and environmentally sustainable.