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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. (2104), 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. How does where you live affect the quality of water from your tap? An analysis for Tennessee. Submitted to JAWRA.

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
  • Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center Mentoring Award, Vanderbilt University, 2022