Nandita Basu

Nandita Basu
Professor, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Water Sustainability and Ecohydrology, Director (Collaborative Water Program)
Location: E2 2327
Phone: 519-888-4567 x47917


Dr. Nandita Basu is a Professor of Global Water Sustainability and Ecohydrology, jointly appointed between the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Waterloo. She is an Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Hydrology, Director of the Collaborative Water Program at the University of Waterloo, elected Member of the Royal Society College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists, and an Earth Leadership Fellow.

Nandita Basu is internationally renowned in the fields of water sustainability and ecohydrology, where her team has laid critical groundwork to address both fundamental science and applied management questions on nutrient pollution in anthropogenic landscapes. She is an environmental engineer, who uses data science, process modeling and remote sensing to explore how climate, land use, and management impacts surface and groundwater quality across agricultural, urban and forested landscapes, and from watershed to the regional and global scales. Her research leverages these insights to develop watershed management strategies that maximizes environmental benefits without significant economic costs.

National and international collaboration has extended the reach and impact of Dr. Basu’s work. She leads a $2.4M Tri-agency project that connects hydrologists, biogeochemists, ecologists and economists with stakeholders across Canada to develop approaches for managing the water quality of lake basins. She co-leads a $1.7M EU Joint Programming Initiative project to expand this work globally, connecting Waterloo with academic experts from Sweden, Denmark and Portugal. Dr. Basu has served on many advisory and technical committees, including the International Joint Commissions’ Science Advisory Board – Science Priority Committee, established under the Canada-USA Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Research Interests

  • Watershed biogeochemistry and land use change\tNutrient Legacies and Water quality
  • Watershed Modeling
  • Environmental and ecosystem hydrology
  • Contaminant fate and transport
  • Wetland restoration
  • Food-water-energy nexus
  • Sociohydrology
  • Water resources sustainability
  • Climate Change and Geosciences
  • Managing the Risk of Human Activity in Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Increasingly Complex Water Challenges
  • Protection of Surface and Groundwater Resources
  • Legacies of Agriculture Pollutants

Scholarly Research

Dr. Basu’s research spans various landscapes and questions - from nutrient pollution in large agroecosystems in North America, to rainwater harvesting and groundwater depletion in India, to forest fires and water treatment, to water conservation in cities, to understanding the role of wetlands and manure management in water quality improvement. Her early research spearheaded a transition in thinking about watershed science from detailed place-based analysis towards the development of regional and global scale theories on watershed functional traits. Later work made fundamental contributions in understanding how buildup of legacy nutrients in agricultural landscapes contribute to time lags in water quality recovery. Her team developed the first ever process-based nutrient-legacy model, Exploration of Long-term Nutrient Trajectories (ELEMeNT), capable of predicting how legacy nitrogen impacts the ability to meet water quality goals. Published in Science, ELEMeNT has already been adopted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), and the Helmholtz Research Institute (Germany). In the last few years, Dr. Basu has become interested in exploring watershed-scale solutions to water quality challenges. She has developed novel techniques for quantifying the role of wetlands in reducing nutrient pollution, and demonstrated that targeted wetland restoration can remove up to 40x more nitrogen than traditional random restoration approaches – a major result published in Nature.


  • 2006, Doctorate Civil Engineering, Purdue University, USA
  • 2000, Master of Engineering Environmental Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
  • 1997, Bachelor of Civil Engineering Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India


  • Fellow, Earth Leadership Program (2021)
  • Sulzman Award in Education and Mentoring, American Geophysical Union (AGU) (2020)
  • University of Waterloo President’s Excellence in Research and Teaching Award (2020)
  • Member, Royal Society of Canada's College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists (2019)
  • University Research Chair (2019 – 2026)
  • Borland Lecture, Hydrology Days, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO (2019)
  • University of Waterloo Outstanding Performance Award (2019)
  • Faculty of Engineering Graduate Supervision Award (2018)
  • Best Early Career Article for publication in Environmental Research Letters (2017)
  • Water Resources Research 2017 Editor’s Choice Award
  • Faculty of Engineering Research Excellence Award (2017)
  • Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation Early Researcher Award (2014)


  • Editor-in-Chief (EIC), Journal of Hydrology (2020 – current)
  • Reviewing Editor, Science (2021 – current)
  • Associate Editor (AE), Water Resources Research (2019 – 2021)
  • Editor, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (2013 – 2019)
  • Editorial Board, PLoSOne (2013 – 2018)
  • Associate Editor, Hydrological Processes (2013 –2020)
  • Advisory Board Member, Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology (2015 – 2017)
  • Invited to be on the Peer Review Panel for US Department of Energy Environmental System Science – Subsurface Biogeochemical Research (SBR) Program – 2020.
  • Grant reviewer and panelist for NSERC, National Science Foundation, US Environmental Protection Agency, Swedish Agricultural Council (2016).

Professional Associations

  • Member, International International Joint Commission's Science Advisory Board – Science Priority Committee member (2020 – Present).
  • Chair, American Geophysical Union Horton Medal Committee (2021 – Present).
  • Member, American Geophysical Union Horton Medal Committee (2018 – Present).
  • Chair, American Geophysical Union Water Quality Technical Committee (2016 – 2018).
  • Deputy Chair, American Geophysical Union Water Quality Technical Committee (2015 – 2016).
  • Member, American Geophysical Union Horton Research Grant Panel (2017 – 2019).

Affiliations and Volunteer Work

  • Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • Department of Earth and Environmental Science, University of Waterloo
  • Water Institute, University of Waterloo
  • Director of the Collaborative Water Program, University of Waterloo


  • CIVE 382 - Hydrology and Open Channel Flow
    • Taught in 2019, 2024
  • CIVE 497 - Special Topics in Civil Engineering
    • Taught in 2019, 2020
  • CIVE 770 - Topics in Environmental Engineering
    • Taught in 2019, 2020
  • EARTH 691 - Special Studies for MSc Students
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021
  • EARTH 692 - Special Studies for PhD Students
    • Taught in 2019, 2020, 2021
  • ENVE 382 - Hydrology and Open Channel Flow
    • Taught in 2022, 2023, 2024
  • WATER 601 - Integrated Water Management
    • Taught in 2021, 2022, 2023

* Only courses taught in the past 5 years are displayed.

Selected/Recent Publications

  • Gall, Heather E and Basu, Nandita B and Mashtare, Michael L and Rao, P Suresh C and Lee, Linda S, Assessing the impacts of anthropogenic and hydro-climatic drivers on estrogen legacies and trajectories, Advances in Water Resources, 19, 2016
  • Cohen, Matthew J and Creed, Irena F and Alexander, Laurie and Basu, Nandita B and Calhoun, Aram JK and Craft, Christopher and D’Amico, Ellen and DeKeyser, Edward and Fowler, Laurie and Golden, Heather E and others, Do geographically isolated wetlands influence landscape functions?, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1978, 2016
  • Sloan, Brandon P and Basu, Nandita B and Mantilla, Ricardo, Hydrologic impacts of subsurface drainage at the field scale: Climate, landscape and anthropogenic controls, Agricultural Water Management, 1, 2016
  • Van Meter, KJ and Basu, NB and Veenstra, JJ and Burras, CL, The nitrogen legacy: emerging evidence of nitrogen accumulation in anthropogenic landscapes, Environmental Research Letters, 035014, 2016
  • Van Meter, Kimberly J and McLaughlin, Daniel L and Basu, Nandita B, The socioecohydrology of rainwater harvesting in India: understanding water storage and release dynamics across spatial scales, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 2629, 2016
  • Basu, N.B., Van Meter, K.J., and Van Capellen, P., Beyond the Mass Balance: Modeling Legacy Phosphorus Dynamics in a Great Lakes Watershed, American Geophysical Union 2018, Fall Meeting, , 0000
  • Basu, N.B., Biogeochemical Hotspots: Role of Small Water Bodies in Watershed Nutrient Processing, Webinar on Wetlands: From Science to Action organized by Canadian Freshwater Alliance, , 0000
  • Basu, N.B. and Van Meter, K.J., Changing Waters: Role of Climate-Driven Changes in Discharge Regimes in Increasing Eutrophication Risk in the Great Lakes Basin, American Geophysical Union 2018, Fall Meeting, , 0000
  • Basu, N.B., Back to the Future: How Past Land Use Impacts current Water Quality, Ohio State University, SENR seminar series, , 0000
  • Nandita Basu, All Publications, Google Scholar)

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