Yangxiao Zhou PhD, MSc

Associate Professor of Hydrogeology


Yangxiao Zhou was born in Gansu, China. He received the BSc in Hydrogeology and Engineering Geology from Hebei College of Geology, China in 1982. After the graduation, he continued postgraduate study in Hydrogeology at Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences in Beijing, and received the MSc in 1985 and PhD in 1988, both with distinctions.

From July 1988 to June 1990, he participated in a joint hydrogeological research project as a visiting scholar at TNO, Netherlands Institute of Applied Geosciences. He joined the International Institute of Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering (IHE) as a lecturer/researcher in June 1990.  In January 1994, he was assigned as the residence team leader of Sana'a University Support project and worked in Yemen until June 1995. He was promoted as the associate professor at IHE Delft in 1998.

Research interests

Dr. Zhou has broad research interests. His research areas cover:

  • Groundwater monitoring and modelling: optimization of groundwater quantity and quality monitoring networks; detection of trends and periodicities in groundwater time series in relation to environmental changes and human activities; use of analytical and numerical groundwater models to delineate drinking water well field protection zones; conceptualization and simulation of groundwater flow and contaminant transport with widely used model codes (MODFLOW, MODPATH, MT3D, SEAWAT).
  • Groundwater sustainability: development of concept and criteria for measuring groundwater sustainability; use of water balance equations to analyze groundwater use sustainability; and application of groundwater models to formulate sustainable groundwater development scenarios. Managed aquifer recharge is used as a tool to achieve groundwater sustainability. 
  • Groundwater-surface water interactions and vegetation dependency: multiple (hydraulic, temperature, and hydrochemistry and isotope) field methods are applied to quantify groundwater-surface water interactions; coupled groundwater-surface water models are used to simulate their interactions; field techniques (sap flow sensors, diurnal groundwater level measurements, climate variables), remote sensing, and model tools are used to indentify vegetation dependency on groundwater level depths.

Education experiences

Dr Zhou has taken lead in curriculum development for Master of Science programs and tailor-made long and short courses. He has been teaching postgraduate courses in Hydrology and Water Resources since 1992, and conducted short courses in many countries. The subjects of his teaching include:

  • Groundwater hydraulics:  analytical solutions of natural groundwater flow and groundwater flow to wells in various aquifers; travel time calculation; and delineation of well field protection zone.
  • Hydrogeostatistics: descriptive statistics, regression and correlation, time series analysis, and Kriging method, with computer exercises.
  • Groundwater monitoring: principles and methods for the design of groundwater quantity and quality monitoring networks; optimization of sampling frequencies; computer exercises.
  • Applied groundwater modelling: theory and methods for groundwater flow, contaminant transport, and saline intrusion modelling; computer workshops using PM (MODFLOW, MT3D, SEAWAT).


Key Publications:

  • FEF Mussa, Y Zhou, S Maskey, I Masih, S Uhlenbrook, 2014, Groundwater as an emergency source for drought mitigation in the Crocodile River catchment, South Africa, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 19, 1093–1106, DOI:10.5194/hess-19-1093-2015.
  • Omar Khan, Elenestina Mwelwa-Mutekenya, Alessandra Crosato, Yangxiao Zhou, 2014, Effects of dam operation on downstream river morphology, the case of the Middle Zambezi River, Water Management 167 (10), 596–611. DOI 10.1007/s10040-013-1091-z.
  • J Huang, Y Zhou, L Yin, J Wenninger, J Zhang, G Hou, E Zhang, 2014, Climatic controls on sap flow dynamics and used water sources of Salix psammophila in a semi-arid environment in northwest China, Environmental Earth Sciences, 1-13. DOI 10.1007/s12665-014-3505-1.
  • Lizhu Hou, Jochen Wenninger, Jiangen Shen, Yangxiao Zhou, Han Bao, Haijun Liu, 2014, Assessing crop coefficients for Zea mays in the semi-arid Hailiutu River catchment, northwest China, Agricultural Water Management 140: 37–47. DOI:10.1016/j.agwat.2014.03.016.
  • Yangxiao Zhou, Zhi Yang, Danrong Zhang, Xiaomei Jin & Jun Zhang, 2014, Inter-catchment comparison of flow regime between the Hailiutu and Huangfuchuan rivers in the semiarid Erdos Plateau, NW China, Hydrological Sciences Journal, DOI: 10.1080/02626667.2014.892208.
  • Z Yang, Y Zhou, J Wenninger, S Uhlenbrook, 2014, A multi-method approach to quantify groundwater/surface water-interactions in the semi-arid Hailiutu River basin, northwest China, Hydrogeology Journal 22 (3), 527-54. DOI 10.1007/s10040-013-1091-z.
  • Lihe Yin, Yangxiao Zhou, Jinting Huang, Jochen Wenninger, Guangcai Hou, Jiaqiu Dong, Jing Zhang, Ying Li, Stefan Uhlenbrook, 2014, Dynamics of willow tree (salix matsudana) water use and its response to environmental factors in the semi-arid Hailiutu River catchment, Northwest China, Environmental Earth Sciences 71:4997–5006,  DOI 10.1007/s12665-013-2891-0.
  • Xiaomei Jin, R.H. Guo, Q. Zhang, Yangxiao Zhou, Danrong  Zhang,  Zhi Yang, 2014, Response of vegetation pattern to different landform and water table depth in Hailiutu River basin, Northwest China, Environmental Earth Sciences, 71 (11), 4889-4898, DOI 10.1007/s12665-013-2882-1.
  • Yangxiao Zhou, J. Wenninger, Z. Yang, L. Yin, J. Huang, L. Hou, X. Wang, D. Zhang, S. Uhlenbrook, 2013, Groundwater-surface water interactions, vegetation dependencies and implications for water resources management in the semi-arid Hailiutu River catchment, China - A synthesis, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 17, 2435–2447, doi:10.5194/hess-17-2435-2013.
  • Lihe Yin, Yangxiao Zhou, Shemin Ge, Dongguang Wen, Eryong Zhang, Jiaqiu Dong, 2013, Comparison and modification of methods for estimating evapotranspiration using diurnal groundwater level fluctuations in arid and semiarid regions. Journal of Hydrology 496, 9–16. Doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.05.016
  • Jingjing Lv, Xu-ShengWang, Yangxiao Zhou, Kaizhu Qian, Li Wan, Derek Eamus, and Zhengping Tao, 2013, Groundwater-dependent distribution of vegetation in Hailiutu River catchment, a semi-arid region in China. Ecohydrology, 6, 142–149.  DOI:10.1002/eco.1254.
  • Yangxiao Zhou, Dianwei Dong, Jiurong Liu, Wenpeng Li, 2013, Upgrading a regional groundwater level monitoring network for Beijing Plain, China. Geoscience Frontiers 4, 127-138. DOI.10.1016/j.gsf.2012.03.008
  • Zhi Yang, Yangxiao Zhou, Jochen Wenninger, and Stefan Uhlenbrook, 2012, The Causes of Flow Regime Shifts in the Semi-arid Hailiutu River, Northwest China, Hydrol. Earth Syst Sci., 16, 87–103. DOI:10.5194/hess-16-87-2012
  • Yangxiao Zhou, L. Wang, J. Liu, W. Li, and J. Zheng, 2012, Options of sustainable groundwater development in Beijing Plain, China. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 47–48, 99–113, DOI:10.1016/j.pce.2011.09.001.
  • Tom Gleeson, William M. Alley, Diana M. Allen, Marios A. Sophocleous, Yangxiao Zhou, Makoto Taniguchi, Jonathan VanderSteen, 2012, Towards sustainable groundwater use: setting long-term goals, backcasting and managing adaptively, Ground Water, Vol. 50, No. 1, 19–26, DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2011.00825.x
  • Yangxiao Zhou, and H. Haitjema, 2012. Approximate Solutions for Radial Travel Time and Capture Zone in Unconfined Aquifers, Ground Water, Vol. 50, No. 5, 799–803, DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-6584.2011.00883.x.
  • Yangxiao Zhou, 2011, Sources of water, travel times and protection areas for wells  in  semi-confined aquifers, Hydrogeology Journal 19: 1285–1291, DOI 10.1007/s10040-011-0762-x
  • Yangxiao Zhou, Liya Wang, Jiurong Liu, Chao Ye, 2011, Impacts of drought on groundwater depletion in the Beijing Plain, China, eds (H. Treidel, et. al) ICH27 Climate Change Effects on Groundwater Resources: A Global Synthesis of Findings and Recommendations, IAH publication, Taylor & Francis Books.
  • Tom Gleeson, Jonathan VanderSteen, Marios A. Sophocleous, Makoto Taniguchi, William M. Alley, Diana M. Allen and Yangxiao Zhou, 2010, Groundwater sustainability strategies, Nature Geoscience, Vol. 3, pp378-379
  • Yangxiao Zhou, 2009, A critical review of groundwater budget myth, safe yield and sustainability, Journal of Hydrology 370, 207–213, DOI:10.1016/j.hydrol.2009.03.009