DARE Domain Lead – Water


Associate Professor R. Willem Vervoort (University of Sydney)

Bachelor of Agricultural Engineering
PhD (Field Hydrology)

Willem has a PhD in field hydrology from the University of Georgia in the US and Agricultural Engineering undergraduate degree from Wageningen University in Soil Conservation. Willem is the leading hydrologist at the University of Sydney and an expert in quantitative Hydrology and Catchment Management. His main research focus is the development of sustainable water management in relation to a varying climate leveraging a long association with agricultural research and agricultural production.

Willem is interested in improving quantitative tools to improve management and policy decisions. A key element of his research is to develop new techniques to use a variety of old and new data sources in modelling. Current projects include Bayesian model optimisation, multi-objective model optimisation, understanding model uncertainty in relation to observed water quality and quantity, and the use of satellite data to improve model structures and predictions. In addition, he has strong interests in groundwater surface water interactions, including using hydrogeochemical tracers to understand groundwater and catchment water storage.

Willem has extensive experience working with industry in projects with the Cotton and Grains industry, as well as Icon water, and more recently with a European/Australian consortium of SME in the water value chain. Willem has worked in Indonesia, Uruguay, Mexico and India, delivering capacity building programs and management advice. He is currently advising the Uruguayan Agricultural research institute on future research directions in water.