Isaya Kisekka
Isaya Kisekka

Irrigation expert Isaya Kisekka named recipient of the IA 2020 Excellence in Education Award

Isaya Kisekka, associate professor in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources and in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, is the recipient of the 2020 Excellence in Education Award from the Irrigation Association (IA). The award recognizes a person who teaches irrigation, water management and/or water conservation at a two- or four-year institution.

“Isaya’s commitment and leadership in programs at UC Davis and the Irrigation Association shows he is ready and willing to go above and beyond to secure our industry’s future success,” said Deborah Hamlin, the association’s CEO.

Kisekka is an expert in agricultural water management and irrigation engineering who has been instrumental in reviving the irrigation curriculum at UC Davis. He co-led the development of three new irrigation courses and the modification of outdated course (HYD 110 Irrigation Principles and Practices). This effort resulted in the creation of an irrigation and water management minor.

Since his appointment at UC Davis in 2017, Kisekka has taught courses on irrigation, water management, evapotranspiration measurement and modeling, as well as GIS. He is known for bringing excitement and energy to his classroom, a factor in his selection. The Excellence in Education Award recognizes someone who promotes the field of irrigation as a viable and sustainable career for students.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected for this award,” Kisekka said. “Working with students and promoting efficient irrigation through engagement is a passion of mine. I’m excited about what the future holds for our students.”

Kisekka’s research focuses on agrohydrology and irrigation. He studies movement of water through the soil to groundwater, and through plants to the atmosphere to optimize water use in agriculture for enhanced crop production, economic and environmental outcomes. Some of his current work includes the management of spatial variability in almonds and walnuts through zone irrigation, precision irrigation in alfalfa and processing tomatoes, recycled water reuse in agriculture and its impacts on soils and crops, as well as the assessment and development of management practices to prevent salt and nitrate leaching into groundwater.

He will be a featured guest on an upcoming episode of the association’s podcast, Bringing Water to Life. Additional information can be found online at

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