Prof. dr. ir. Hubert Savenije


Since 1999, Hubert Savenije is Professor of Hydrology at the Delft University of Technology, where he is the head of the Water Resources Section. Prof. Savenije studied at the Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands, where he obtained his MSc in 1977 in Hydrology. As a young graduate hydrologist he worked for six years in Mozambique where he developed a theory on salt water intrusion in estuaries and studied the hydrology of international rivers. From 1985-1990 he worked as an international consultant mostly in Asia and Africa. He joined academia in 1990 to complete his PhD in 1992. In 1994 he was appointed Professor of Water Resources Management at the IHE (now UNESCO-IHE, Institute for Water Education) in Delft, the Netherlands.

He is President of IAHS (the International Association for Hydrological Sciences) and editor in chief of Physics and Chemistry of the Earth. He is Past-President of Hydrological Sciences of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), and Past-President of the International Commission on Water Resources Systems of IAHS. From 2004-2016 he was chief executive editor of Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS), one of the leading hydrological journals that became open access in 2005.


The hydrological system is highly complex, full of thresholds, non-linear relations and feedback mechanisms. Yet there is also order. My main interest is to find the connection between the complexity of the hydrological system and the remarkably simple behaviour that we often observe. If we can catch complex behaviour in relatively simple terms, then we have increased our understanding of system behaviour and found handles that would allow us to interact with it. My publications on estuarine processes and rainfall-runoff modelling reflect this search for simplicity, through which already promising results have been obtained.

Educational activities

BSc Courses:

  • CTB2420 - Hydrology

MSc courses:

  • CIE4400 – Water Quality Modelling
  • CIE4431 – Hydrological Modelling
  • CIE5450 – Hydrology of Catchments, Rivers and Deltas

Key publications

  • Savenije, H.H.G., 2015. Prediction in ungauged estuaries; an integrated theory, Water Resources Research, 51, 2464–2476, doi:10.1002/2015WR016936.
  • Savenije, H.H.G., 2012. Salinity and Tides in Alluvial Estuaries, 2nd completely revised edition:
  • Savenije, H.H.G., M. Toffolon, J. Haas, and E.J.M. Veling, 2008. Analytical description of tidal dynamics in convergent estuaries. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, C10025, 1-18, doi:10.1029/2007JC004408.
  • Savenije, H.H.G., 2009. HESS Opinions "The Art of Hydrology". Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 13, 157–161, doi:10.5194/hess-13-157-2009.
  • Savenije, H.H.G., HESS Opinions "Topography driven conceptual modelling (FLEX-Topo)", Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 14, 2681–2692, 2010. doi:10.5194/hess-14-2681-2010.
  • Savenije, H.H.G., "New definitions for moisture recycling and the relation with land-use changes in the Sahel". Journal of Hydrology, 167:57-78, Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1995.
  • Van der Ent, R.J., Savenije, H.H.G., Schaefli, B., Steele-Dunne, S. C., 2010. The origin and fate of atmospheric moisture over continents, Water Resour. Res. doi:10.1029/2010WR009127.
  • Savenije, Hubert H.G., and Pieter van der Zaag, 2002. “Water as an economic good and demand management: paradigms with pitfalls”, Water International, Vol.27, no.1, pp.98-104.

A full list of publications
All Estuary related publications
More publications on Pure


  • Savenije, H.H.G., 2012. Salinity and Tides in Alluvial Estuaries, 2nd completely revised edition:
  • Blöschl, G., M. Sivapalan, T. Wagener, A. Viglione and H. Savenije, 2013. Run-off Prediction in Ungauged Basins: Synthesis Across Processes, Places and Scales. Cambridge University Press.
  • Pfister, L., H.H.G. Savenije, F. Fenicia, 2009. "Leonardo da Vinci's Water Theory; On the origin and date of water". IAHS Special Publication 9.





  • Television: "Waterschapsverkiezingen", RTL Nieuws 10:00, 18 March 2015.
  • Television: "Over de Waterschappen", RTL Nieuws 19:30, 7 March 2015.

More Media

Other activities

Prizes and awards

  • Alexander von Humboldt medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), 2015
  • Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2014
  • Royal decoration: "Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion", 2014
  • Henry Darcy medal of the European Geosciences Union (EGU), 2008

Hubert Savenije

Professor of Hydrology


Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Lydia de Hoog