Dr. Cyndi Vail Castro, P.E.

My research examines the role of water in coupled natural and human-influenced systems. I study the consequences of environmental and societal stressors through a mixed-methods approach, including geospatial technologies, social sciences, systems-thinking, hydrological modeling, and stakeholder-driven modeling. By approaching human-influenced watersheds as a complex system, I investigate emergent phenomena that exist at the convergence between social equity, environmental justice, climate resiliency, and natural disaster mitigation.

With a background as an urban hydrologist and civil engineer, I have experience working alongside politicians and resiliency leaders when planning regional water systems. As such, I have become convinced that our challenge is not purely qualitative nor quantitative. Rather, there exists a unique connection between human behavior and the water cycle. My research exists at this interface and extends the paradigm of socio-hydrology toward actionable decision-making by working in partnership with stakeholders.

I believe there is a unique opportunity to resolve planetary water challenges by bridging the gap between science and policy. We are living in a critical time, where climate change is no longer ‘on the horizon’ but rather a current threat to civilization and the environment. As such, we necessitate understanding how communities plan for climate extremes, particularly in urban settings, to achieve health and justice. We must do so in partnership with decision-makers to genuinely impact governance and equitable outcomes both for our generation and those to follow.