Moo Young Han
PhD, University of Texas at Austin, 1989
MS, Seoul National University 1979
BS, Seoul National University, 1977
Otherwise known as Dr. Rain, Professor Moo Young Han is leading the “rainwater revolution.” A professor at Seoul National University, he is recognized for his creative, innovative work on dissolved air flotation and rainwater harvesting, sharing his knowledge with the public and helping underserved communities gain access to clean water.
At the beginning of his academic career, Moo Young performed work on dissolved air flotation, a process to remove particles from water by attaching air bubbles to them, making them dense than water. He became a recognized expert in this area but also had growing interest in rainwater harvesting.
Living in Seoul, he experienced frequent flooding due to substantial rainfalls at times and a high percentage of impervious cover. Moo Young became convinced that the longstanding engineering approach to preventing flooding was fundamentally flawed.
Rather than building sufficiently large piping networks to quickly carry water downstream of cities, he concluded that rain should be captured and used where it falls. As a result, he first worked on "rainwater harvesting," a process where rainwater is captured from rooftops, and collected for beneficial use, such as gardening, toilet flushing or treating drinking water.
He also worked with local politicians to create change in building practices so that new apartment and office buildings in Seoul are required to capture, store and use rainwater. Similar laws have been adopted by several major cities in Korea. He also took this technology to many rural places in developing countries in Asia, creating clean drinking water for countries who never had it before.
Moo Young has organized several international conferences on rainwater harvesting and has received multiple awards from the International Water Association (IWA), the leading global water and wastewater organizations of professionals. As a response to growing water problems due to climate change, he also initiated a rainwater harvesting and management specialist group through the IWA.