Dept of Earth & Environmental Sciences
Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (EIT)
200 University Ave. W
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567
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.
- Watershed biogeochemistry and land use change
- Watershed modeling
- Environmental and ecosystem hydrology
- Contaminant fate and transport
- Wetland restoration
- Food-water-energy nexus
- Water resources sustainability
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.
University of Waterloo
- CIVE382 Hydrology and Open Channel Flow
- CIVE 230 Engineering for Sustainable Development
- CIVE 770 Topics in Environmental Engineering, "Ecohydrological Modeling"
- EARTH 458 Physical Hydrogeology
- Flow Through Porous Media
- Water 601: Integrated Water Resources Management
University of Iowa
- Principles in Environmental Engineering
- Water Resources Sustainability
Please see Nandita Basu's Google Scholar profile for a current list of her peer-reviewed articles.
Awards and Distinctions
- 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)
University of Waterloo Affiliations
- 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
Professional Associations and Service
- Editor-in-Chief (EIC), Journal of Hydrology (2020 – current)
- Reviewing Editor, Science (2021 – current)
- Associate Editor (AE), Water Resources Research (2019 – current)
- 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)
Board and External Committee Memberships and Leaderships
- 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).
- 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).
The following news stories have featured Professor Basu's research:
2006 PhD Civil Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
2001 MTech Environmental Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India
1997 Bachelor of Civil Engineering Jadavpur University, Calcutta, India