About Marc Bierkens

Marc Bierkens (1965) is professor of Geographical Hydrology at Utrecht University and a water resources researcher at Deltares. His fields of expertise are groundwater hydrology, ecohydrology, stochastic hydrology, hydrological regionalisation, upscaling theory and geostatistics and global hydrology. He investigates whether sufficient water will be available in the future for a growing world population.

His current research focuses on global-scale hydrological modelling in relation to climate change and water availability. His research group collaborated on mapping global water scarcity and groundwater depletion and the salinisation of groundwater of coasts and deltas. Water scarcity occurs when the demand for water exceeds the amount of water available. This is increasingly the case in the Netherlands too; drinking water companies are running up against their limits due to high water demand and low groundwater levels, which also affect farmers and nature.

To support this work, his group has built a high-resolution global hydrological and water resources model. The results of these models are frequently used in public outreach (e.g. the national Geographic World Water Map) and to support web application to aid NGOs and companies in water risk assessments (e.g. the World Resources Institute Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas).

Marc Bierkens is fellow of the American Geophysical Union since 2016 and is editor of the journal Water Resources Research. He was chairman of the Boussinesq Center, the network of university hydrology groups in the Netherlands (2007-2011) and of the Netherlands Hydrology Society (2011-2017), which represents over 600 Dutch hydrology professionals. He co-organised the IAHS ModelCARE conference in 2005 in The Netherlands. He was supervisor on 31 completed PhD theses and has been a committee member on more than 90. Marc Bierkens (co-) authored about 240 publications, 200 of which appeared in international peer-reviewed journals. He is principal author of the book Upscaling and Downscaling Methods for Environmental Research (2002), co-author of the book Sampling for Natural Resource Monitoring (2006) and editor of the book Climate and the Hydrological Cycle (2008).


Marc Bierkens received in April 2023 the EGU award Henry Darcy Medal from the Hydrological Sciences Division at the European Geosciences Union. It was awarded in recognition of outstanding scientific contributions towards understanding the depletion of surface and groundwater resources related to human use and climate change. The AGU (American Geophysical Union), the world's largest society within the Earth and Space Sciences, also in December 2023 added him to the gallery of honour for his "extraordinary contributions to the science of hydrology over the course of his career". Finally, Marc was appointed as a member of the KNAW, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, as the first and only hydrologist.

Working experience

  1. TNO institute of Applied Geosciences

    Senior Hydrologist

    2002 - present
  2. Wageningen University and Research Centre

    Senior Researcher, Alterra

    1994 - 2002
  3. Utrecht University, Department of Physical Geography

    Research Assistant

    1990 - 1994
  4. TNO Institute of Applied Geoscience


  5. University of California at Davis, Department of Land, Air and Water Resources

    Research Assistent

    1988 - 1989


  1. Climate and the Hydrological Cycle

    Climate and the Hydrological Cycle. IAHS Special Publication 8. IAHS Press UK, 343 pp.

  2. Het Water en de Leer

    Inaugurele rede uitgesproken op 5 maart 2003 bij de aanvaarding van het ambt van Hoogleraar “Geografische Hydrologie” aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Faculteit Ruimtelijke Wetenschappen, Utrecht (ISBN 90-6266-211-0).

  3. Upscaling and downscaling methods for environmental research

    Published by Kluwer Academic Publishers Dordrecht. Sold and distributed in North, Central and South America. ISBN 0-7923-6339-6.


  1. Chairman

    National Study Group on the Application of Statistics in the Earth Sciences (LASSA)

  2. Member of Science Advisory

    Boared of Geoenv


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