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Prof. dr. Nick van de Giesen


Telephone: +31 15 2787180
Fax: +31 15 2785559
Room number: Civil Engineering, 4.73


Since July 2004, Nick van de Giesen has held the Van Kuffeler Chair of Water Resources Management of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. He teaches Integrated Water Resources Management (CT4450) and Water Management (CT3011, 2005). His main interests are the modeling of complex water resources systems and the development of science-based decision support systems. The interaction between water systems and their users is the core theme in both research portfolio and teaching curriculum. Since 1 April 2009, he is chairman of the Delft Research Initiative Environment (

Before coming to Delft University, he worked from 1998 to 2004, at the Center for Development Research of Bonn University, with as main activity the scientific coordination of the GLOWA Volta Project. From 1994 to 1998, he did Post-Doctoral research on the hydrology and management of inland valleys at WARDA, Cote d’Ivoire. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University for his work on wetland development in Rwanda. At Wageningen University, he did his M.Sc. in irrigation engineering. For a complete CV see CV_Nick_van_de_Giesen.pdf.

Main research projects

Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO): Monitoring Africa's environment is an important challenge if the continent's resources are to be used in an optimal and sustainable manner. Food production and harvest predictions would profit from improved understanding of water availability over space and time. Presently, the African observation network is very limited. National governments and regional planners do not have the data to make proper decisions regarding investments in water resources infrastructure.

The idea behind this project is to build a dense network of hydro-meteorological monitoring stations in sub-Saharan Africa; one every 30 km. This asks for 20,000 of such stations. By applying innovative sensors and ICT, each station should cost not more than $500. The stations would be placed at schools and integrated in the educational program. The data will be combined with models and satellite observations to obtain a very complete insight in the distribution of water and energy stocks and fluxes.
Within this project, we have built a prototype of an acoustic disdrometer (rain gauge) that can be produced for a fraction of the costs of a commercial equivalent with the same specifications. The disdrometer was developed in The Netherlands and tested in Tanzania for a total project cost of €5000. In 2013, we are running a sensor design competation at African universities. See:

eWaterCycle: This project will develop a high-resolution global hydrological model. The project is a cooperative effort by Utrecht University, the Netherlands eScience Center, and TU Delft. This model was developed in Utrecht and is called PCRGLOB-WB. The model will be parallelised in order for it to be run very fast on a CPU cluster or a  super computer. The final ambition is to run the model at a grid of 100m x 100m, with as first intermediary step a global grid of 1km x 1km. The model will be assimilated with measurements collected on the ground and by satellites. Because the main computational bottle neck for this development is the memorry directly accessible by the CPU's, a special data assimilation algorithm will be developed in order to keep model development scalable. The plan is is run the nodel operationally at the end of the project in order to be able to provide global hydrological predictions, as explained in the movie below.



Distributed Temperature Sensing: An important focus of recent research concerns the application of Distributed Temperature sensing (DTS) to water management problems. DTS allows for precise measurement of temperature along a fiber optic cable. The length of the cable may go up to 10 km and temperature will be measured at each meter. Accuracy will increase with the duration of the measurement. For measurements of 30 seconds, an accuracy of 0.1 K can be obtained, improving to 0.02 K for measurements of 30 minutes.

The applications have been numerous, leading to many scientific publications in recent years (see below). The first application concerned groundwater inflow into a small stream in Luxembourg. Subsequent applications include finding illicit sewer connections, finding seepage zones in canals, determining soil moisture content, and determining atmospheric temperature profiles. Important partners are Oregon State University, University of Nevada Reno, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and Charles Sturt University. Regular workshops are organized to help scientists become familiar with this interesting technique (see

For a list of all projects which are conducted in Nick van de Giesen's chair see all projects.

Recent publications

Link to Overview ISI / Web of Science Publications, older publications, and Citations


   “Model reduction in model predictive control of combined water quantity and quality in open channels.” Xu M., P.J. van Overloop, N.C. van de Giesen, Environmental Modelling & Software, 42:72-87, doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2012.12.008

   “HydroZIP: How hydrological knowledge can be used to improve compression of hydrological data.” Steven V.Weijs, Nick van de Giesen, Marc B. Parlange, Entropy, 15:1289-1310, doi:10.3390/e15041289

   “Measuring heat balance residual at lake surface using Distributed Temperature Sensing.” T.H.M. van Emmerik, A. Rimmer, Y. Lechinsky, K.J.R. Wenker, S. Nussboim, N.C. van de Giesen, Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 11:79–90, doi:10.4319/lom.2013.11.79, 2013

   “The influence of hard substratum reflection and calibration profiles on in situ fluorescence measurements of benthic microalgal biomass.” Corina Carpentier, Anna Dahlhaus, Nick van de Giesen, Blahoslav Maršálek, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 15:783–793, doi:10.1039/C3EM30654B, 2013


   “Scenario development for water resource planning and management: A review.” Congli Dong, Gerrit Schoups, Nick van de Giesen, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2012.09.015, 2012

   “Heated Optical Fiber for Distributed Soil-Moisture Measurements: a Lysimeter Experiment.” Francesco Ciocca, Ivan Lunati, Nick Van de Giesen, Marc B. Parlange, Vadose Zone Journal, doi:10.2136/vzj2011.0199, 2012

   “Tree Structure Generation from Ensemble Forecasts for Real Time Control.” Luciano Raso, Nick van de Giesen, Philip Stive, Peter-Jules van Overloop, Dirk Schwanenberg, Hydrological Processes, 27:75-82, doi:10.1002/hyp.9473, 2012

   “De Saint-Venant Equations-Based Model Assessment in Model Predictive Control of Open Channel Flow.” M. Xu, R.R. Negenborn, P.J. van Overloop, N.C. van de Giesen. Advances in Water Resources, 49:37–45, doi:10.1016/j.advwatres.2012.07.004, 2012

   “Learning from collaborative research in water management practice.” G.T. Raadgever, E. Mostert, N.C. van de Giesen, Water Resources Management, 26:3251–3266, doi:10.1007/s11269-012-0070-9, 2012

   “Floods and Flood Management in Pakistan.” Muhammad Atiq Ur Rehman Tariq, Nick van de Giesen. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 47–48:11–20, doi:10.1016/j.pce.2011.08.014, 2012

   “Diurnal differences in global ERS scatterometer backscatter observations of the land surface.” Jan Friesen, Susan C Steele-Dunne, Nick van de Giesen, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 50(7):2618-2629, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2012.2193889, 2012 

   “Using Diurnal Variation in Backscatter to Detect Vegetation Water Stress.” Susan C. Steele-Dunne, Jan C. Friesen, Nick van de Giesen. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 50(7):2595-2602, doi:10.1109/TGRS.2012.2194156, 2012

   “Double-Ended Calibration of Fiber-Optic Raman Spectra Distributed Temperature Sensing Data.” Nick van de Giesen, Susan Steele-Dunne, Jop Jansen, Olivier Hoes, Mark B. Hausner, Scott Tyler, John Selker. Sensors, 12(5):5471-5485; doi:10.3390/s120505471, 2012

   “Reply to comment by Keith J. Beven and Hannah L. Cloke on ‘‘Hyperresolution global land surface modeling: Meeting a grand challenge for monitoring Earth’s terrestrial water.’’”  Eric F. Wood, Joshua K. Roundy, Tara J. Troy, Rens van Beek, Marc Bierkens, Eleanor Blyth, Ad de Roo, Petra Döll, Mike Ek, James Famiglietti, David Gochis, Nick van de Giesen, Paul Houser, Peter Jaffe, Stefan Kollet, Bernhard Lehner, Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Christa D. Peters-Lidard, Murugesu Sivapalan, Justin Sheffield, Andrew J. Wade, Paul Whitehead. Water Resources Research, W01802, doi:10.1029/2011WR011202, 2012

  “Carbon monoxide as a tracer of gas transport in snow and other natural porous media.” Hendrik Huwald, John Selker, Scott Tyler, Marc Calaf-Bracons, Nick Van de Giesen, Marc Parlange. Geophysical Research Letters, 39, L02504, doi:10.1029/2011GL050247, 2012


   “Influence of Tree Age and Variety on Allometric Characteristics and Water Use of Mangifera indica L. Growing in Plantation.” Philip G. Oguntunde, Johnson T. Fasinmirin, Nick van de Giesen. Journal of Botany, 2011, ID 824201, doi:10.1155/2011/824201, 2011

   “Calibrating single-ended fiber-optic Raman spectra distributed temperature sensing data.” Mark B. Hausner, Francisco Suárez, Kenneth Glander, Nick van de Giesen, John S. Selker, Scott W. Tyler. Sensors, 11:10859-10879, doi:10.3390/s111110859, 2011

   “Seasonal Variation of Temporal Patterns of Water Flux in a Cashew Orchard Under Sub-humid Tropical Conditions.” Oguntunde, Philip G., Ayodele E. Ajayi, Jan Friesen, Nick van de Giesen, Paul L. G. Vlek. Journal of Crop Improvement, 25(5):504-520, doi:10.1080/15427528.2011.591482, 2011

   “Shade estimation over streams using distributed temperature sensing.” A.C. Petrides, J. Huff, A. Arik, N. Van de Giesen, A.M. Kennedy, C.K. Thomas, J.S. Selker. Water Resources Research, 47, W07601, doi:10.1029/2010WR009482, 2011

   “Accounting for observational uncertainty in forecast verification: an information-theoretical view on forecasts, observations and truth. Steven V. Weijs, Nick van de Giesen. Monthly Weather Review, 139:2156-2162, doi:10.1175/2011MWR3573.1, 2011

   “Scale Effects in Hortonian Surface Runoff: Theory, models, and field data.” Nick van de Giesen,Tjeerd-Jan Stomph, Ayodele Ebenezer Ajayi, Fafré Bagayoko. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 142:95-101, doi:10.1016/j.agee.2010.06.006, 2010

   “Estimating soil heat flux using Distributed Temperature Sensing.” J.H.A.M. Jansen, P.M. Stive, N.C. van de Giesen, Scott W. Tyler, S.C. Steele-Dunne, L. Williamson, IAHS Publ. 343: 140-144, 2011

   “Hyper-Resolution Global Land Surface Modeling:  Meeting a Grand Challenge for Monitoring Earth’s Terrestrial Water.” Eric F. Wood, Joshua K. Roundy, Tara J. Troy, Rens van Beek, Marc Bierkens, Eleanor Blyth, Ad de Roo, Petra Döll, Mike Ek, James Famiglietti, David Gochis, Nick van de Giesen, Paul Houser, Peter Jaffe1, Stefan Kollet, Bernhard Lehner, Dennis P. Lettenmaier, Christa Peters-Lidard, Murugesu Sivapalan, Justin Sheffield1, Andrew Wade, Paul Whitehead, Water Resources Research, W05301, doi:10.1029/2010WR010090, 2011

   “A relation between extreme daily precipitation and extreme short term precipitation.” Yanina L. Romero, J. Bessembinder, N.C. van de Giesen, F.H.M. van de Ven. Climatic Change, 106:393–405, doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9955-x, 2011 

   “Designing an evaluation control systems of the Dez Main Canal.” S. Isapoor, A. Montazar, P.J. van Overloop, N. van de Giesen. Irrigation and Drainage, 60:70-79, doi:10.1002/ird.545, 2011

  “On the Study of Control Effectiveness and Computational Efficiency of Reduced Saint-Venant Model in Model Predictive Control of Open Channel Flow.” M. Xu, P. J. van Overloop, N. C. van de Giesen. Advances in Water Resources, 34:282–290, doi:10.1016/j.advwatres.2010.11.009, 2011 


   “Why hydrological predictions should be evaluated using information theory.” Steven V. Weijs, Gerrit Schoups, Nick van de Giesen, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 14, 2545-2558, doi:10.5194/hess-14-2545-2010, 2010

   “Understanding Heat Transfer in the Shallow Subsurface Using Temperature Observations.” Martine M. Rutten, Susan C. Steele-Dunne, Jasmeet Judge, Nick van de Giesen, Vadose Zone Journal, 9: 1034 – 1045, doi:10.2136/vzj2009.0174, 2010

   “Corruption of accuracy and efficiency of Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation by inaccurate numerical implementation of conceptual hydrologic models.” G. Schoups, J.A. Vrugt, F. Fenicia, N.C. van de Giesen. Water Resources Research, W10530, doi: 10.1029/2009WR008648, 2010

   “Productivity of Irrigation Technologies in the White Volta Basin.” E.A. Ofosu, P. van der Zaag, N.C. van de Giesen, S.N. Odai, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 35:706-716, doi:10.1016/j.pce.2010.07.005, 2010

   “Kullback-Leibler divergence as a forecast skill score with classical reliability-resolution-uncertainty-decomposition.” Steven V. Weijs, Ronald van Nooyen, Nick van de Giesen. Monthly Weather Review, 138:3387–3399, doi:10.1175/2010MWR3229.1, 2010

   “Feasibility of soil moisture monitoring with heated fiber optics.” C. Sayde, C. Gregory, M. G. Rodriguez, N. Tufillaro, S. Tyler, N. van de Giesen, M. English, R. Cuenca, J. S. Selker, Water Resources Research, 46, W06201, doi:10.1029/2009WR007846, 2010

   “Identification of resonance waves in open water channels.” P.J. van Overloop, I.J. Miltenburg, X. Bombois, A.J. Clemmens, R.J.Strand, N.C. van de Giesen, R.Hut. Control Engineering Practice, doi:10.1016/j.conengprac.2010.03.010, 2010

   “A comparison of an implicit and explicit connection of fast and slow flowing components of a water system.” A.J.J. Vergroesen, N.C. van de Giesen, F.H.M.van de Ven. Journal of Hydrological Sciences, 55(3):287-302, doi:10.1080/02626661003683223, 2010

   “Adapting to climate change in the Volta Basin, West Africa.” Nick van de Giesen, Jens Liebe, Gerlinde Jung. Current Science, 98(8): 1033-1037, 2010

   “Feasibility of Soil Moisture Estimation using Passive Distributed Temperature Sensing.” S.C. Steele-Dunne, M. M. Rutten, D. M. Krzeminska, M. Hausner, S.W. Tyler, J.S. Selker, T.A. Bogaard, N.C. van de Giesen. Water Resources Research, 46, W03534, doi:10.1029/2009WR008272, 2010

“Use of isotopes to study floodplain wetland and river flow interaction in the White Volta River basin, Ghana.” Benjamin Kofi Nyarko, David Kofi Essumang, Moses J. Eghan, Barbara Reichert, Nick van de Giesen, Paul Vlek. Isotopes in Environmental and Health Studies, 46(1): 91 106, doi: 10.1080/10256010903388543, 2010

   “Real-time Control of Combined Surface Water Quantity and Quality: Polder Flushing.” M. Xu, P. J. van Overloop, N. C. van de Giesen, G. S. Stelling. Water Science and Technology, 61(4): 869–878, doi:10.2166/wst.2010.847, 2010


   “Identifying seepage in ditches and canals in polders in The Netherlands by Distributed Temperature Sensing.” O.A.C. Hoes, W.M.J. Luxemburg, M.C. Westhof, N.C. van de Giesen, J.Selker. Lowland Technology International, 11(2): 21-26, 2009

   “Locating illicit connections in storm water sewers using fiber-optic distributed temperature sensing.” Olivier Hoes, Remy Schilperoort, Wim Luxemburg, Francois Clemens, Nick van de Giesen. Water Research,  doi:10.1016/j.watres.2009.08.020, 2009

   "Alternative water management options to reduce vulnerability for climate change in the Netherlands." Rutger de Graaf, Nick van de Giesen, Frans van de Ven.  Natural Hazards, 51:407-422, doi:10.1007/s11069-007-9184-4, 2009

   “Uncertainty assessment in surface and subsurface hydrology: An overview.” Alberto Montanari, Cristine A. Shoemaker, Nick van de Giesen. Water Resources Research, 45, doi:10.1029/2009WR008471, 2009

  “Determining Watershed Response in Data Poor Environments with Remotely Sensed Small Reservoirs as Runoff Gauges.” J. R. Liebe, N. van de Giesen, M. Andreini, M. T. Walter, T. S. Steenhuis. Water Resources Research, 45, W07410, doi:10.1029/2008WR007369, 2009

   “Suitability and limitations of ENVISAT ASAR for monitoring small reservoirs in a semi-arid area.”  Jens R. Liebe, Nick van de Giesen, Marc S. Andreini, Tammo S. Steenhuis, and M. Todd Walter. IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, 47(5):1536-1547,  doi:10.1109/TGRS.2008.2004805, 2009

   "Increased biofuel production in the coming decade: to what extent will it affect global fresh water resources?" Jippe Hoogeveen, Jean-Marc Faurès, Nick van de Giesen. Irrigation and Drainage 58(S1): 148-160, doi: 10.1002/ird.479, 2009

   "Delineation of small reservoirs using radar imagery in a semi-arid environment: A case study in the Upper East Region of Ghana." F.O. Annor, N. van de Giesen, J. Liebe, P. van de Zaag, A. Tilmant, S.N.Odai. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 34:309-315, doi:10.1016/j.pce.2008.08.005, 2009

   "The sustainable village." Hubert H.G. Savenije, Nick C. van de Giesen. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 34(1-2):1-2, doi: 10.1016/j.pce.2008.10.054, 2009 

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