University Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth and Environmental Sciences
Craig E. Philip Professor of Engineering
Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment (VIEE)
I am interested in how hydrological processes are affected by humans and in how human behavior is affected by hydrological processes. As risks of both flooding and water scarcity become more acute over time, there is grave concern that our infrastructure systems—water treatment facilities, pipelines, sewers, highways, bridges, dams, hydroelectric facilities, irrigation systems and other aspects of the built environment—will become more vulnerable and less resilient, leading to potentially catastrophic consequences. Furthermore, under conditions of water scarcity, vulnerability can be exacerbated by approaches to allocate water among competing demands. For example, tradeoffs between hydropower and irrigation, or between biofuels and food, may lead to badly suboptimal adaptation. My current work on climate change and drought in Sri Lanka is aimed at understanding how adaptation decisions can be informed by interdisciplinary research.
Understanding how hydrological processes affect the transport of dissolved and suspended constituents through catchments and aquifers is one of the main aims of studies of Earth surface processes. I have long-standing research interests in studying questions related to such processes, including current projects on the transport of dissolved organic carbon through catchments in collaboration with colleagues at Stroud Water Center.
VIEE research is aimed at multidisciplinary assessments of the environmental impacts of individual, institutional, and societal choices related to energy, water, and climate. In this vein,, I have current projects on farmer adaptation to drought in Sri Lanka, on water resources in Bangladesh, and on water conservation in American cities with a number of colleagues at Vanderbilt.
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