Wouter Berghuijs

Commendation for Wouter Berghuijs – Department of Civil Engineering

Supervisor: Dr Ross Woods

PhD project: Bringing structure to catchment-scale hydrological diversity around the world

Understanding the water cycle is key to:

The management of global freshwater resources:

  • for predicting natural hazards (e.g. floods and droughts), and
  • for understanding the earth system more generally (e.g. climate change).

It thereby provides a timeless topic that will be at the heart of societal developments into the future. One of the key challenges that hydrology (the science that describes the freshwater cycle) faces is dealing with the enormous diversity of environmental conditions that is present across the world; no two watersheds are the same and even when they appear near identical their conditions are likely to change over time (e.g. climate change).

In my PhD studies I have come up with simple approaches to better conceptualize the hydrologic similarities and differences of thousands of catchments across the world. While the long-term goal of providing a generally accepted classification system for hydrology has not yet been reached, my work has provided timeless insight into various aspects directly relevant to applied and more theoretical hydrology (e.g. flood risk, climate change impacts, prediction in ungauged basins). Working at the Water and Environmental research group at the Faculty of Engineering has provided me with the opportunity to directly work with key players in the hydrology community.


Wouter Berghuijs was born in 1989 and grew up near the town of Deventer in the Netherlands. Following high school in Deventer, Wouter moved to Delft to study Civil Engineering at Delft University of Technology (NL). In Delft, he soon realized that doing hydrology research was what he enjoyed most. In his MSc studies, Wouter gained international experience with research visits to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) and the University of Bristol (UK). In 2014 started his PhD studies in hydrology at the University of Bristol under the supervision of Dr. Ross Woods.

After he successfully completed his PhD in 2017, he started working as a postdoctoral researcher at ETH Zurich (CH). Besides his research, Wouter has been active as the founder of the Young Hydrologic Society and served on multiple positions for the European Geosciences Union. Whenever Wouter is not working, you can find him dreaming about remote areas in Africa.

Wouter Berghuijs
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