Gualbert Oude Essink

Expert on groundwater resources in the coastal zone

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Gualbert Oude Essink, PhD (Civil Engineering, Delft University of Technology) is senior hydrogeologist at Deltares and associate professor at the Utrecht University. His drive is to understand complex dynamic groundwater processes in subsiding coastal zones under paleo, anthropogenic, climate change and storm surge conditions, aiming for sustainable management of water resources in coastal zones under different spatial and time scales. Gualbert participates in scientific research programs on groundwater salinity mapping via rapid airborne electromagnetic surveys, smart salinity monitoring (e.g. using fiberglass techniques) and high-performance variable-density groundwater flow and salinity transport modelling. He likes to share knowledge, data and methodologies with colleagues, partners and clients in projects in The Netherlands, Belgium, Vietnam, Egypt and Bangladesh) and on a global level (e.g. the impacts of sea-level rise on groundwater systems in deltaic areas). He is a member of the Scientific Council of Deltares, and programs like ‘Redesign the Dutch Delta’ and ‘Long term delta developments’. Gu gives international courses and keynote lectures at several universities; reviews proposals within scientific programs in The Netherlands, Belgium and Australia; convenes scientific sessions; teaches since 1999 at IHE Delft; publishes in journals; and supervises ~4 MSc students per year and 7 PhD-candidates.

Gu participates in:
– research projects on vulnerable fresh groundwater resources in the Netherlands (NatureCoast, ‘De Zandmotor’), Egypt (Nile Delta), Singapore (Jurong Island), Bangladesh (SWIBANGLA) and Vietnam (UDW Rise and Fall). He leads a Dutch Aquifer Storage & Recovery consortium on promising solutions for local freshwater supply to reduce drought and salinity stresses (
– in the programs FRESHEM Zeeland (Helicopter Electromagnetic survey for fresh-salt groundwater distribution, finished in May 2017) and NWO-STW Water Nexus (project Resource analysis and regional water management). In the latter project, PhD research is supervised on rapid mapping and rapid modeling deltaic areas, and on operational management of regional salt-fresh water resources.
– in the recently launched (per May 2017) TOPSOIL FRESHEM Vlaanderen, a INTERREG VB programme.
– in a project on fresh groundwater reserves in 40 major deltas under global and climate change since May 2015.

Gu gives international courses and keynote lectures, convenes sessions on congresses, teaches at UNESCO-IHE Delft, publishes in journals and supervises seven PhD-students.


Google scholar page

Utrecht University page

Working experience

2014-present Utrecht University, The Netherlands Supervising PhDs, guest lectures
2007-present Deltares Senior expert in fresh-salt groundwater in the coastal zone, variable density groundwater modeling, interaction groundwater – surface water
2002-2007 TNO, The Netherlands Groundwater modeling; expert in salt-fresh groundwater interaction
2002-2004 Free University Amsterdam, The Netherlands Senior expert, work package leader: EC-project CRYSTECHSALIN (Crystallisation Technologies for Prevention of Salt Water Intrusion)
2001-2002 Freelance Specialist Hydrology Specialist fresh-saline groundwater modelling: case-study of the Water Board Rijnland and the Wieringermeerpolder
1999-present UNESCO-IHE Delft (International Institute for Infrastructural Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering) Lecturer: Density dependent groundwater flow
1997-2002 University of Utrecht, The Netherlands Assistant Professor Hydrological Transport Processes
1989-1996 Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands PhD-student on 'Impact of sea level rise on groundwater flow regimes. A sensitivity analysis for the Netherlands'