We have become increasingly aware that humans are an endogenous driver in hydrological systems, however, we are just beginning to investigate how best to derive meaningful relationships within such complex systems. I apply concepts from the social sciences and complex systems sciences to investigate coupled human-water phenomena and to describe patterns in a manner conducive to hydrological planning. My research includes tools such as causal loop diagrams, systems dynamics modeling, and agent-based modeling. I also focus on deriving and applying novel frameworks within the nascent domain of socio-hydrology.
Water Resources Management
I enjoy using applied science for engineering optimization and regional mitigation planning in flood-prone communities. My interests including using novel data collection and analysis techniques while partnering with key stakeholders for optimal community planning. Part of my doctoral dissertation includes spatial optimization of green infrastructure throughout the greater-Houston region in a manner that is reproducible for other regions with widely-available, authoritative datasets. I integrate stakeholder participation into the planning framework while incorporating multi-functionalities of the engineered solution and robust hydrological modeling techniques.
Many of the numerical principles we use in stormwater modeling have been derived from site-specific or laboratory simulations. When we attempt to scale this up to the regional-scale for widespread planning, underlying phenomena may break down. Standard practice necessitates 'calibrating' the models to observed water values, which poses issues when we lack long-term and robust field measurements. I am interested in combining bottom-up and top-town hydrological philosophies to investigate how dominant watershed characteristics change over different scales of interest, both spatially and temporally.
While working as a graduate engineer, I helped design green stormwater facilities for Rice University. Unfortunately, the LEED components of the project were removed due to high costs and uncertainties regarding materials, construction, permitting, and long-term maintenance. I worked on several other projects where the green infrastructure components were removed mid-design due to social constraints.
Years later, I was given the opportunity to work at the City of Houston Office of Resiliency & Recovery through an NSF INTERN Fellowship. By working with lead flood control and resiliency decision-makers, I realized that the widespread potential of green infrastructure continues to be limited. For this reason, I have structured my dissertation to include practical green infrastructure planning by merging social, environmental, and hydrological geospatial datasets into an optimization framework.
I am a self-proclaimed GIS nerd and enjoy all things related to geospatial data. This interest was spawned by an urban watershed planning project at AECOM where we designed a drainage network for the entire city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia after several fatal flash flood events. I learned about LiDAR cloud data, projections, data management, mapping, and spatial analysis techniques for hydrological engineering. Since then, I have specialized in curated ArcGIS tools for enhanced watershed modeling using Python coding and cloud-based datasets. I enjoy watershed modeling using a variety of tools, including the HEC suite, SWAT, and SWMM. I have created numerous drainage models for rural, urban, and international sites.