Dr. Michelle van Vliet

Dr. Michelle van Vliet

Associate Professor
Geographical Hydrology
+31 30 253 2786

"Quality matters for water scarcity"

Research focus: water nexus and water quality

Michelle van Vliet is an Associate Professor at the Department of Physical Geography of Utrecht University. Her work focuses on global change impacts and adaptation in relation to the availability and quality of water resources and water use in sectors (irrigation, domestic, energy) and ecosystems. Michelle has developed a concept of water scarcity which includes water-quality requirements for different sectoral water uses (published in Nature Geoscience and ERL). Her work strongly links to the Pathways to Sustainability research theme. 

Together with the PhDs and postdocs she supervises, she focuses on the main question “How to provide sufficient and clean water resources for human use and ecosystems in our changing world?”

Michelle is a member of the Utrecht Young Academy, a bridge between young and talented researchers.

Top 3 publications

1. van Vliet, M.T.H., Flörke, M., Wada, Y. (2017) Quality matters for water scarcity, Nature Geoscience, 10, 800–802, doi:10.1038/ngeo3047

2. van Vliet, M.T.H., D. Wiberg, S. Leduc, K. Riahi (2016), Power-generation system vulnerability and adaptation to changes in climate and water resources, Nature Climate Change 6, 375-380, doi:10.1038/nclimate2903

3. van Vliet, M.T.H., J.R. Yearsley, F. Ludwig, S. Vögele, D. P. Lettenmaier, and P. Kabat (2012) Vulnerability of U.S. and European electricity supply to climate change, Nature Climate Change, 2(9), 676681, doi:10.1038/nclimate1546

Personal fellowships, awards and distinctions

  • ERC Starting Grant B-WEX 'Balancing clean Water and Energy provision under changing climate and eXtremes' (2022-2027) (€ 1,500,000)
  • NWO-VIDI Grant ‘Water scarcity under droughts and heatwaves: understanding the complex interplay of water quality and sectoral water use’ (2021-2026) (€800,000)  
  • Aspasia Grant (2022-2026)(€40,000)  
  • NWO-VENI Grant ‘Quality matters: Including water quality in global  water stress projections’ (2015-2019) (€250,000)  
  • Niels Stensen Fellowship ‘Global water constraints on future electricity production and future pathways for sustainable water and energy security’ (2014-2015)       
  • Best PhD thesis Award in Environmental Sciences, National Research School for Socio-Economic and Natural Sciences of the Environment (SENSE) (2013)
  • ‘Cum Laude’ (with distinction) PhD (top 2-3%), Wageningen University (2008-2012)    
  • Best Young Delta Scientist Award, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2010)
  • Cum Laude’ (with distinction) BSc and MSc, Utrecht University (2001-2006)
  • Best Oral Presentation Award, Netherlands Centre for River Studies (NCR) Conference, Enschede (2006)