DR Tim Peterson

DR Tim Peterson


  • Geostatistics (mapping, statistics, water table, aquifer)
  • Hydrogeology (groundwater management, surface-groundwater interaction)
  • Hydrological resilience (hydrology, resilience, catchment modelling)



  • I have over 17 years experience in hydrological and hydrogeological research and consulting. My research focus is on detecting long-term change in catchment hydrological processes and drivers early enough so that society can be taken action. Central to this is understanding when and where catchments do and do not recovery from disturbances, such as droughts or land cover change. All of my research is focused on social-outcomes and I strive to place my research within Pasteur's quadrant (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasteur%27s_quadrant)

    I completed my Phd in 2009 on pioneering work on catchment resilience and multiple steady states (http://hdl.handle.net/11343/35439) and was subsequently awarded an Australian Research Council Post-doctoral Fellowship to continue this research.

    More recently, I've been researching the use of statistics to identify catchments with multiple steady states. This research has also allowed considerably greater quantitative value to be derived from groundwater monitoring. Specifically, I've developed nonlinear groundwater time-series approaches for extrapolating and decomposing hydrographs and probabilistic geostatistical methods for mapping groundwater elevation. These tools have considerable practical outcomes and, in collaboration, they've been adopted by The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (Vic.), Power and Water Corporation (N.T.) and the Bureau of Meteorology - with the latter adopting the mapping techniques for the National Water Accounts.

    I have or are supervising the following Phd students:
    • Dr. Vahid Shapoori: Statistical decomposition of groundwater hydrographs into climate and pumping impacts. (completed)
    • Ms. Emma White: Numerical evaluation of the effectiveness of groundwater management plans.
    • Mr. Sina Khatami: Quantifying equifinality in conceptual rainfall-runoff modelling.
    • Ms. Silwati Womera: St


Member of

  • IAH. International Association of Hydrogeologists 2012 -
  • AGU. American Geophysical Union 2010 -
  • MSSANZ. The Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand 2009 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • My research I has been well supported by the following Australian Research Council Grants:
    • ARC Linkage Project 0991280. Western; Peterson; Frost; Cheng; McAuley : "A new paradigm for catchment management: detection, forecasting and management of water catchments with multiple steady states"
    • ARC Discovery Project 120100253. Western : "A new method for identifying groundwater contributions to stream baseflow". http://apps.eng.unimelb.edu.au/research-projects/index.php?r=site/webView&id=203
    • ARC Linkage Project 130100958. Western : "Automated groundwater level mapping: a tool for catchment scale estimation of aquifer storage changes, fluxes and hydrogeological properties"
    I have also been well supported by the following research contracts:
    • Bureau of Meteorology: Hydrologic change in rainfall-streamflow characteristics, $120k, CIs Western, Peel, Peterson and Saft. 2019
    • Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority: Towards an improved understanding of the relationship between hydrology and the biota of high value GDE’s in the Strathbogie Ranges. $40k, CIs Peterson and Stewardson, 2019-2021
    • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning: Victorian Catchment Drought Response and Recovery: Understanding where and why. $1.2M, CIs Peel and Peterson and Saft. 2018-2020
    • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning: VAF Enhancement using geostatistical analysis using hydrological tools (HydroSight). $164,855, 2017, CI Peterson. 2017-2018
    • Victoria Government Technical Advisory Committee for Aquifer Property Estimation, $5k, 2016, CI T. Peterson. 2017
    • Bureau of Meteorology: <


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2010
  • BEEnv, Monash University 2001
  • BSc, Monash University 1997

Awards and honors

  • Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Early Career Award, 2015
  • Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship Industry (APDI), Australian Research Council (ARC) Post-doctoral Fellowship, 2009
  • eWater CRC PhD scholarship, Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Melbourne, 2006



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am always seeking talented PhD candidates. I prefer students with industry experience and students who want to deliver bold research that makes a difference. If you are interested in doing a PhD with me then please contact me with the following. Females are high encouraged to apply.
    • A one page statement of your research idea or interests and how it relates to my research interests.
    • CV.
    • Academic transcript.