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Murugesu Sivapalan



Dr. Sivapalan's research has focused on making predictions in ungauged basins, increasingly in the context of human-induced environmental changes. A basic aim of his research has been to understand observed space-time variability of rainfall-runoff processes at a wide range of scales, including their extremes, and to interpret these in terms of underlying climate-soil-vegetation-topography interactions. Increased focus on hydrologic change has led him to launch the new sub-field of socio-hydrology that aims to explore the dynamic feedbacks between social and hydrological systems lying at the heart of the many critically important water management challenges. Dr. Sivapalan is especially keen towards ensuring that advances in predictions based on socio-hydrologic understanding are used to address acute water management challenges in developing countries where resources are scarce and social and environmental vulnerabilities are intertwined. He has led major efforts towards developing an international network of scientists to address critical water management challenges in the emergent Anthropocene.


  • Ph.D., Civil Engineering, Princeton University
  • M.A., Civil Engineering, Princeton University
  • M.Eng., Water Resources Engineering, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand
  • B.S., Civil Engineering, University of Ceylon, Sri Lanka

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Geography and Geographic Information Science
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Chester and Helen Siess Endowed Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Recent Publications

Ghoreishi, M., Elshorbagy, A., Razavi, S., Blöschl, G., Sivapalan, M., & Abdelkader, A. (2023). Cooperation in a transboundary river basin: a large-scale socio-hydrological model of the Eastern Nile. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 27(5), 1201-1219.

Ma, Z., Guan, K., Peng, B., Sivapalan, M., Li, L., Pan, M., Zhou, W., Warner, R., & Zhang, J. (2023). Agricultural nitrate export patterns shaped by crop rotation and tile drainage. Water Research, 229, Article 119468.

Sriskandarajah, N., & Sivapalan, M. (2023). Water security, participatory governance, and dialogue spaces for change in Northern Sri Lanka. World Water Policy, 9(3), 405-413.

Sriskandarajah, N., & Sivapalan, M. (2023). Water Security, Participatory Governance, and Dialogue Spaces for Change in Northern Sri Lanka. World Water Policy, 9(2), 274-276.

Wei, Y., Wu, S., Lu, Z., Ison, R., Western, A., & Sivapalan, M. (2023). Unfolding the complexity in water reallocation decision-making in the Heihe River Basin, China. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 39(4), 576-594.

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