Gail A. Hathaway, 83, an internationally known specialist in the field of water resource development, died Monday at Mount Vernon Hospital after a stroke.

In 1944-45, he was special adviser to the chief Army engineer in the European theater and played a key role in organizing and operating the Rhine River Flood Prediction Service.

The service provided the information that permitted the Allied armies to successfully cross that historic river in the defeat of Germany. For his work on that mission, Mr. Hathaway received the Bronze Star Medal and a Presidential Citation.

After the war, Mr. Hathaway was an engineering consultant to President Truman's Cabinet Committee on Palestine during meetings in London.He also had been a consultant on flood control in the Panama Canal Zone.

In the 1950s, he had served as president of the International Commission on Large Dams and as vice president of the World Power Conference. He also had been a consultant to the World Bank.

Mr. Hathaway was born in Menomonie, Wisc. He grew up in Oregon and earned a degree in civil engineering from Oregon State University. He served in France with the Army artillery corps in World War I.

He joined the Corps of Engineers in Kansas City, Mo., in 1928 and came to Washington in 1937 to serve in the office of the Chief of Engineers. He became a special assistant to the chief engineer in 1945 and held that position until retiring in 1956.

Mr. Hathaway had served with U.S.-Canadian groups involved with Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. He was the author of numerous publications.

He was a former president of the American Society of Civil Engineers and its D.C. chapter. The national organization presented him with its James J. R. Croes Gold Medal in 1947.

He also had been president of the D. C. Chapter of the American Meteorological Society and belonged to the Society of Military Engineers and the Geophysical Union.

Mr. Hathaway was a 33rd degree Mason. He belonged to the Columbia Country Club.

A resident of University Park, Md., for many years, he had resided recently at the Cosmos Club, of which he was a member.

Mr. Hathaway's wife, the former Mary Peterson, and two sons, Neal Leroy and Norman Edward, preceded him in death.

He is survived by a daughter, Jere Hathaway Wright, of Fairfax Station; two sisters, Mrs. Edward Johnson and Gladys Dietz, both of Oregon, 10 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the National Capital Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers.