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George M. Hornberger


  • University Distinguished Professor Emeritus


  • Ph.D., Hydrology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • MSCE, Hydrology, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
  • BSCE, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Selected Professional Experience

  • 2021-present - University Distinguished Professor Emeritus
  • 2008-2021 - Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment and University Distinguished Professor, Vanderbilt University
  • 1991-2008 - Ernest Ern Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
  • 2006-2007 - Visiting Professor, University of California at Berkeley
  • 1997-1998 - Visiting Scientist, Institute for Alpine and Arctic Research, University of Colorado
  • 1990-1991 - Visiting Scientist, U.S. Geological Survey and, concurrently, Visiting Professor, Stanford University
  • 1984-1985 - Honorary Visiting Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Lancaster, Lancaster, U.K.
  • 1977-1978 - Visiting Fellow, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies, The Australian National University

Current Students [No longer serving as primary advisor for graduate students]

Recent Ph.D. and M.S. graduates

Ke "Jack" Ding, Ph.D. (2021), Environmental Engineering, Dissertation: Food-energy-water interrelationships

Thushara De Silva Ph.D. (2020), Environmental Engineering, Dissertation: Irrigation and hydropower systems in the Mahaweli Watershed

Chelsea Peters Ph.D. (2018), Environmental Sciences, Dissertation: "Freshwater in Coupled Human-Natural Systems in Bangladesh"

Scott Worland Ph.D. (2018), Environmental Sciences, Dissertation: "Data-driven Methods for Hydrologic Inference and Discovery"

Leslie Duncan, Ph.D. (2017), Environmental Sciences. Dissertation: "Regional and Local Hydrologic Responses to Climate Fluctuations and Land Use Change, Columbia River Basin, Washington"

Thushara Gunda, Ph.D. (2017), Environmental Engineering. Dissertation: "The Water-Food Nexus: A Data-driven, Interdisciplinary Approach to Inform Decision Making in Sri Lanka"

John Crane, Ph.D. (2014) Environmental Engineering:"Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Urban Lawns."

John Jacobi, Ph.D. (2014), Environmental Sciences. Dissertation: "A Changing Climate in Sri Lanka: Shifts, Perceptions, and Potential Adaptive Actions"

Yi Mei, Ph.D. (2014) Environmental Engineering. Dissertation: "Hydrological Regulation of Dissolved Organic Carbon Transport from Agricultural and Forest Soils to Streams"

Debra Perrone, Ph.D. (2014) Environmental Sciences. Dissertation: "Characterizing Water, Food, and Energy Interrelationships"

Scott Worland, M.S. Earth and Environmental Sciences (2015), Thesis: "Source, Transport, and Evolution of Saline Groundwater in a Shallow Holocene Aquifer on the Tidal Delta plain of Southwest Bangladesh"

Elizabeth Stone, M.S. (2016) Earth and environmental Sciences, Thesis: "Water and Nutrient Management in a Changing Climate: A Case Study from Rural Sri Lanka"

Elise Hunter, MS Environmental Engineering (2016)

Jenny Murphy, MS (2011) Earth and Environmental Sciences, Thesis: "Concentration–discharge relationships in the coal mined region of the New River basin and Indian Fork sub-basin, Tennessee"

Research Projects

  • Water Quality in Community Water systems
    • Collaborators: Yolanda McDonald, Jonathan Gilligan
  • Transition Dynamics in Integrated Urban Water Systems
    • Collaborators: Margaret Garcia, Arizona State University

Selected Recent Publications

Ding K, Hornberger, GM, Hill, E, and Y.J. McDonald 2022. Where You Drink Water: An Assessment of the Tennessee, US Public Water Supply. Water, 14: 2562. .

Deslatte, A, Laura Helmke-Long, L, Anderies, M, Garcia, M, Hornberger G, and E. Koebele. 2021 Using Institutional Grammar to Study Transition Dynamics in Integrated Urban Water Systems. Policy Studies Journal 00: 1–20.

De Silva Manikkuwahandi, T. & G.M. Hornberger. 2021. Deriving Reservoir Cascade Operation Rules for Variable Streamflows by Optimizing Hydropower Generation and Irrigation Water Delivery. J ournal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 147(7).

Ding, KJ, Gilligan, JM, Yang, YCE, Wolski, P, and GM Hornberger. Assessing Food-Energy-Water resources management strategies at city scale: An Agent-Based Modeling approach for the City of Cape Town 2021. Resources Conservation & Recycling 170.

Worland, S.C., Steinschneider, S. and G.M. Hornberger. 2018, Variability in public supply water withdrawals in the U.S. Water Resources Research 54: 1868-1889. doi:10.1002/2017WR021268.

Gilligan, J.G, C.A. Wold, S.C. Worland, J.J. Nay, D.J. Hess, and G.M. Hornberger. 2018. Urban Water Conservation Policies in the United States. Earth’s Future 6: 955-967. doi:10.1029/2017ef000797

Nawagamuwa, UP, Hornberger, GM, and T Gunda 2018. Influences of temperature and precipitation on soil moisture in Anuradhapura District. Journal of the National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka 46: 519 – 526. DOI: 10.4038/jnsfsr.v46i4.8627.

Gunda, T, Hess, D, Hornberger, GM and S Worland, 2019. Water Security in Practice: The Quantity-Quality-Society Nexus of Water Security. Water Security 6: 100022. .DOI: 10.1016/j.wasec.2018.100022.

Peters, C.N., Baroud, H. and G. M. Hornberger 2019. Multicriteria Decision Analysis of Freshwater Resource Management in Southwestern Bangladesh. J. Water Resour. Planning and Mgmt. 145: 05019004.

DeSilva, T., Hornberger, G.M., and H. Baroud 2019. Decision Analysis to Support the Choice of a Future Power Generation Pathway for Sri Lanka. Applied Energy 240: 680-697.

DeSilva, T.M. and G.M. Hornberger 2019. Identifying ENSO Influences on Rainfall with Classification Models: Implications for Water Resource Management of Sri Lanka. Hydrol. Earth Sys. Sci. 23: 1905-2019. doi: 10.5194/hess-23-1905-2019

DeSilva, T., Hornberger, G.M., and H. Baroud 2019. Decision Analysis for the Expansion of the Mahaweli Multi-Purpose Reservoir System in Sri Lanka. J. Water Resour. Planning and Mgmt. 145(9): 05019013. doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0001094

Ding, K, Gilligan, JM, and GM Hornberger. 2019. Avoiding “Day-Zero”: A Testbed for Evaluating Integrated Food-Energy-Water Management in Cape Town, South Africa. Proceedings of the 2019 Winter Simulation Conference, N. Mustafee, K.-H.G. Bae, S. Lazarova-Molnar, M. Rabe, C. Szabo, P. Haas, and Y.-J. Son, eds.

Honors and Awards

  • Virginia Chapter of Sigma Xi, President's and Visitors' Prize, 1986.
  • Robert E. Horton Award, Hydrology Section, American Geophysical Union, 1993.
  • Elected Fellow, American Geophysical Union, 1994.
  • Appointed to five-year Visiting Professorship at University of Reading, UK, 1995
  • 1995 Biennial Medal for Natural Systems, Modelling and Simulation Soc. of Australia
  • 1995 John Wesley Powell Award for Citizen's Achievement (US Geological Survey)
  • Elected Fellow, Association for Women in Science, 1996
  • Elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, February 1996
  • 1999 Excellence in Geophysical Education Award, American Geophysical Union
  • Bownocker Lecturer, Ohio State University, May 1999
  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher, 2000 (
  • National Associate of the National Academies in recognition of extraordinary service, 2001
  • Langbein Lecturer, American Geophysical Union, 2002
  • Elected Fellow, Geological Society of America, 2005
  • Virginia Outstanding Scientist, 2007
  • William Kaula Award, American Geophysical Union, 2010
  • Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award, Vanderbilt University, 2017
  • Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2020
  • Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center Mentoring Award, Vanderbilt University, 2022