Wim Bastiaanssen Prof., PhD

Professor of Global Water Accounting


Wim G.M. Bastiaanssen is a professor of global water accounting for IHE Delft and professor of civil engineering and geosciences at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Wim Bastiaanssen is an expert in earth observation technologies for soil, land surface and atmospheric processes, with a specialization in river basin management and agricultural water management. He has extensive experience in irrigation systems hydrology at field and regional scales. His interests are in computing intelligent pixels and using that spatial information to diagnose water resources management situations where data is limited.

He developed the Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL), an image-processing model that maps evapotranspiration, biomass growth, water deficit and soil moisture. SEBAL has grown out as one of the world leading algorithms for consumptive use. More than 1000 peer reviewed articles refer to the original SEBAL paper published in the Journal of Hydrology during 1998. The US-version of SEBAL is referred to as Mapping Evapotranspiration with Internalized Calibration (METRIC), which has been further refined to typical irrigation conditions encountered in Western US by Dr. Richard Allen. Google will use SEBAL and METRIC to develop an open access data processing tool referred to as EEFlux, that will be released during 2015.

The lack of access to data in international basins is cause for great concern. There is an urgent need for independently gathered water resources-related data sets that can be commonly understood by hydrologists, economists, agronomists, environmentalists, social scientists, legal experts and political scientists, and that enable evidence-based decision support and policy making. A system of water accounting has so far been missing as an important element in the emerging system of global water governance. In view of the great water challenges that the world community is facing, the Institute and its partners the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) joined forces to pro-actively create and operationalize the research field of global water accounting. 

The Special Chair of Global Water Accounting will act as a catalyst and ambassador of good water science and education. Wim is the developer of Water Accounting Plus (WA+) that forms the basis for the data repository www.wateraccounting.org. WA+ is an innovative analytical framework to describe water flows, fluxes, consumptive use and services, and water resources reporting by means of sheets, tables and maps.

Wim works with several governments in East Africa, North Africa, Near-East and Southeast Asia to implement water accounting into governmental decision making processes. He has used his expertise on water and energy balances in more than 70 consultancy projects in 30 different countries throughout the world. Many of these projects are with the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, FAO, IFAD and UNESCO. The majority of the efforts are dedicated to water resources assessments, irrigation performance monitoring and crop water productivity. Prof. Bastiaanssen has been a Fellow of the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka, and was a Professor at ITC - University of Twente before. As an entrepreneur, he founded and co-founded WaterWatch BV, SEBAL North America Inc. and eLEAF B.V. companies.

Wim Bastiaanssen holds a doctorate in eco-hydrology, soil physics and groundwater management from Wageningen Agricultural University (1995) and a bachelor’s in tropical land and water management engineering from Van Hall - Larenstein, Velp (1986). He grew up with 6 brothers and 3 sisters on a Dutch polder farm. Prof. Bastiaanssen has a Elsevier Scopus Index of 31 (December 2014). He is in the top 15 of most frequently cited scientists of Delft University of Technology.