Veena Srinivasan

Research Interests

Veena’s research interests include inter-sectoral water allocation, threats to freshwater from local to regional to global scales, impacts of multiple stressors including demographics, climate change and urbanization on water resources, sustainable water management policy and practice in socio-hydrologic systems. She leads several interdisciplinary research projects that combine field hydrology, low-cost sensing, citizen science, and simulation modelling to understand and find solutions to critical water problems.


Veena received her PhD from Stanford University’s Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. Her research framework integrated both centralized and decentralized approaches to urban water supply in India. She has also worked on quantifying and modelling vulnerability of water use under environmental change. As a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford, Veena was instrumental in developing a framework for a Global Freshwater Initiative at Stanford, conducting a meta-analysis of interdisciplinary water case studies to trace patterns in the nature and causes of global water crises. Prior to joining ATREE, Veena worked for several years in the private and non-profit sectors on energy, water, and forest policy issues in India.

Veena has a Masters in Energy and Environmental Studies from Boston University and a Bachelor of Technology in Engineering Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai.

Current Projects

2012-15: Co-Principal-Investigator. Adapting to climate change in urbanizing watersheds (ACCUWa). Funded by International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

2015-17: Principal-Investigator. Sustainable Water Management in Bangalore. Towards a 2035 Vision. Funded by a grant from the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

2016-17: Principal-Investigator. Citizen Dashboard for Bangalore's Lakes


Stanford University
PhD, Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources 2008
An integrated framework for analysis of water supply strategies in a developing city: Chennai, India. Stanford University. PhD: 322.

Boston University Master of Arts, Energy and Environmental Analyses 1997

Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, Bachelor of Technology, Engg. Physics 1995

Research Experience

Fellow Apr. ’13 – Present
Programme Leader, Water, Land and Livelihoods Programme. Apr. ’16 – Present
Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)

Senior Research Affiliate, Pacific Institute Jul ’11 – Present

  • Co-authored position paper on Global Water Governance for G20 Summit in 2012
  • Co-authored report on “mWASH” Mobile Phone Applications in water and sanitation
  • Lead author in a concept note on Multiple-Use Water Services for Rockefeller Foundation
  • Co-authored report on climate change resilience and urbanization in Indore, India

Post-doctoral scholar, Stanford University Sep ‘08 – Jun ’11

  • Developed a framework for a proposed Global Freshwater Initiative at Stanford
  • Conducted a meta-analysis to understand the causes of water crises across the world

Research Associate, Pacific Institute Sep. ’01 – Sep ’02

  • Analyzed potential for Demand Side Management in the commercial/industrial sector of CA
  • Prepared comparative case studies of successful urban water management worldwide.

Research Associate, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development (CISED), Bangalore Mar ’01 – Aug ’01

  • Evaluated the disaggregated benefit-cost analysis of the ecosystem services provided by the Biligiri Ranganathaswamy Temple (BRT) Wildlife Sanctuary in India.

Consulting Experience

Advisor, Skoll Global Threats Fund Jul. ’12 – Aug. ‘12

  • Evaluated the potential for hydrologic data transparency initiatives to mitigate transboundary water conflicts in South Asia.

Consultant, Packard Foundation Jun '04–Sep '04

  • Assistance with preparation of energy sector funding strategy for India

Consultant, Aquaya Institute Jun '08–Sep '08

  • Analysis of water refill market in India

Consultant, Utilities Group, Pricewaterhouse Coopers India Mar ’98–Nov ’99

  • Developed and implemented software for Bangladesh Power Development Board.
  • Provided analyst support in institutional strengthening of Grid Corporation of Orissa Ltd and Andhra Pradesh State Electricity Board

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Book Chapters and Reports

Conference Presentations

  • Srinivasan, V., S. Lele, B. K. Thomas and P. Jamwal. "The transition from water scarcity to water pollution in ThippagondanahalliHalli catchment, India", paper presented at Urbanization and the Environment: Eighth Biennial Conference of the Indian Society for Ecological Economics, at Bangalore, 4th-6th January 2016.
  • Srinivasan, V., Ballukraya, P.N. A fresh perspective on groundwater in over-exploited, hard rock aquifers: Low cost, participatory approaches in the Arkavathywatershed,India. Poster session presented at: Hydrology and Earth Sciences in Data Scarce Regions: From Remote Sensing to In Situ and Crowd-Sourcing Methods. Fall Meeting of American Geophysical Union, San Francisco,9th – 15th December 2014.
  • Poster presented at the American Geophysical Union Conference in Dec 2011 at San Francisco, entitled ‘Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) - A Global Review: Lessons for Integrative Water Research’.
  • Poster presented at the AAAS Conference in Feb 2011 at Washington DC, entitled ‘Impact of urbanization on water resources: Simulation of coupled human-land-water systems’.
  • Poster presented at the American Geophysical Union Conference in Dec 2010 at San Francisco, entitled ‘Identifying the causes of global water crises’.
  • Presented a talk at the American Geophysical Union Conference in Dec 2009 at San Francisco, entitled ‘An integrated framework for analysis of water supply strategies in a developing city: Chennai, India’ at the Water Management and Security session.

Invited Talks

  • Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanizing Watersheds. Training Programme on Vulnerability, organized by Indian Institute of Human Settlements, Bangalore, 10th December 2015.
  • Adapting to climate change in urbanizing watersheds: Preliminary insights from Chennai and Bangalore. Summer School in Water and Sustainability. Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, March 6, 2015.
  • Adapting to climate change in urbanizing watersheds: Preliminary insights from the Arkavathy watershed. Climate Studies Program. Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, February 4, 2015.
  • Low-cost approaches to problem-driven hydrologic research: The case of
    Arkavathy watershed, India. Session: Hydrology and earth sciences in developing world communities. American Geophysical Union Conference, San Francisco CA, Dec. 2014.
  • Socio-hydrology of the Thippagondanahalli catchment in India - an investigation of human feedbacks on hydrologic processes. Session: H34E Sociohydrology: Modeling Feedbacks in Complex Coupled Natural Human Water Systems, American Geophysical Union Conference, San Francisco CA, Dec 2014.
  • Srinivasan, V. “Adapting to climate change in organizing watershed” at the IUSST Workshop on Adaptation of rural communities to climate change: Bridging the gap between academia and community workers and identifying research needs. Organised by ATREE and Columbia University, 20th February 2014.
  • Keynote speaker at the Vienna Catchment Science Symposium - Socio-hydrologic patterns, feedbacks and trajectories in coupled human-water systems. Saturday 13th April, 2013 held at Vienna University of Technology.
  • Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanizing Watersheds (ACCUWa): A Situation Analysis” at the IDRC-CCW Workshop, Kathmandu, Nepal, 18th June 2013.
  • Processes and scales of inequity in urbanizing areas in India. NSF and University of California at Santa Cruz, Workshop on Multi‐Scalar and Cross‐ Disciplinary Approaches towards Equitable Water Governance, 21st ‐22nd February 2013.
  • Closing Keynote Speaker at the 13th Annual Human Rights Symposium- Dying of Thirst: The Right to Water in a Globalized World. At the Centre on Rights Development's (CORD), Josef Korbel School, University of Denver. (March 2012).
  • Pipe Dreams - Water for thirsty cities in India. Member-led Forum, Commonwealth Club of San Francisco (August 2011).
  • Columbia Water Centre Seminar Series, Columbia University, NY (April 2010).
  • Stanford Business School Speaker Series on Water (March 2010).
  • Environmental Earth Systems Science Colloquium, Stanford University, CA (May 2009).
  • University of New Mexico, Civil Engineering Seminar, Albuquerque, NM (April 2009).
  • Systems Dynamics Guild, Sandia National Labs, Albuquerque, NM (April 2009).
  • Indian Institute of Science, CisTUP Seminar, Bangalore (June 2009).
  • Indian Institute of Management Seminar, Bangalore (July 2009).
  • Annual Stanford India Conference in 2008, organized by the Stanford Center for International Development. The audience included high level Indian policy makers.
  • Faculty seminar at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Environment and Development, Bangalore, India, 2006.

Teaching Experience

  • Course Co-Instructor, ATREE: Interdisciplinary Methods, Spring 2014: This core course is meant to help students understand how to carry out interdisciplinary research on the environment. It focuses on the challenge of linking and integrating this knowledge to study society-environment interactions holistically. I helped lead a two class discussions for this course.
  • Course Instructor, ATREE: Basic Mathematics, Fall 2013, 2015: The purpose of this graduate level class was to provide a review of the fundamentals of Mathematics needed to understand quantitative methods in environmental, social and ecological sciences.
  • Course Co-Instructor, ATREE: Environmental Science, Fall 2013, 2015:This course introduced students to the fundamentals of environmental processes at global, regional and local scales using a biogeochemical framework. The course involved both theory and application of the concepts to real-world environmental problems via doing field, laboratory and computer exercises in environmental sciences.
  • Course Instructor, Stanford University: Global Freshwater Challenges and Opportunities, Spring 2012: The purpose of this graduate level class was to help students navigate through the vast, complex landscape of the water sector. This class was designed for students interested in careers in consulting, advocacy, government, philanthropy and business. Each week an eminent speaker was invited to reflect on a major issue and solution, followed by a separate class discussion session with additional readings on the topic.
  • Course Instructor, Stanford University: Interdisciplinary Research Design, Winter 2010: The purpose of this class is to “bring to life” research design theory and practice. Each week, the class featured an invited Stanford faculty whose own research exemplifies a particular research design tradition. This was followed by a class discussion about the research design and process.
  • Course Assistant, Stanford University: Sustainable Water Resources Management – Spring 2004: Course Assistant for this graduate-level seminar course in Civil and Environmental Engineering students in Spring 2004.
  • Teaching Assistant, Boston University: Dynamic Modelling, Fall 1997: The class was a modelling class based on the STELLA dynamic modelling software.

OpEd Pieces

Awards and Recognition

  • Jim Dooge Award for best paper in Hydrology and Earth System Science, European Geophysical Union (2015)
  • Water Resources Research Editor’s Choice Award, American Geophysical Union (2013)
  • Teresa Heinz Environmental Scholar, Heinz Foundation (2005-2007)
  • Stanford School of Earth Sciences, Graduate Fellowship (2002-2006)
  • Presidential Graduate Fellowship, Boston University (1996-1997)
  • National Talent Search Scholarship, Government of India (1989-1991)

Professional Memberships

  • American Geophysical Union (Since 2008)
  • International Association of Hydrogeologists (Since 2016)
  • Indian Society of Ecological Economics (Since 2015)

twitter: @veenas_water