Groundwater and Catchments

Department of Civil & Structural Engineering

Dr Domenico Bau

Senior Lecturer

+44 (0) 114 22 20253

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street,
S1 3JD


My research activity started in the early 90’s at the School of Engineering of the University of Padova, Italy, where I worked, as undergraduate research assistant before graduation, and as research scientist afterwards in projects related to the assessment of the environmental impact due to development of gas reservoirs and aquifer systems. In particular, I developed and implemented finite-elements models to simulate geomechanical deformation and land subsidence due to fluid withdrawal, and conducted geostatistical analyses to derive geomechanical constitutive models for sedimentary basins using field data. In 2001, I entered the PhD program in Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University, focusing on the development of computational frameworks for the management of groundwater remediation strategies under conditions of parameter uncertainty. In particular, I built and combined innovative stochastic reactive-transport numerical models and multi-objective optimization algorithms to assist the planning of cost-effective pump-and-treat systems.
In 2007, I became assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Colorado State University, where I leaded a series of research projects focusing on: feasibility and design of cost-optimal, low-risk geological carbon sequestration systems in deep brine aquifers; data assimilation methods for the characterization of hydrogeological and reactive-transport parameter distributions in coupled catchment-aquifer-stream systems heavily utilized for irrigation farming; the impact on coupled groundwater-surface water regimes in western US alluvial aquifers of changes in future water management scenarios, including reduced groundwater pumping, increased stream augmentation, and increased drought recurrence; and data fusion frameworks for the characterization of geomechanical parameter distributions of conventional hydrocarbon reservoirs based on remote-sensing land-surface deformation data.
I joined University of Sheffield as Senior Lecturer in July 2014. As a scientist, I am generally interested in topics related to subsurface hydrology, with a particular focus on: the development and application of stochastic numerical models to simulate and predict groundwater flow and solute transport under conditions of uncertainty; and the development of algorithms for the assimilation of field data into model results in order to minimize such uncertainty. In addition, my research interests include the aspects of computational geomechanics associated with the modeling of the deformation of porous media due to the underground extraction and injection of fluids.

Recent activities and achievements

Research Interests

  • Inverse modeling and data assimilation techniques applied to subsurface flow, solute transport, and geomechanical deformation processes.
  • Stochastic optimization approaches to support the management of: groundwater supply systems; contaminated groundwater plumes; and geological carbon sequestration systems.
  • Numerical modeling of: groundwater flow and solute transport in highly heterogeneous aquifer systems, multi-phase flow for geological carbon sequestration and development of hydrocarbon reservoirs.
  • Numerical modeling of: stress/strain/pressure distributions in porous media related to development from conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon reservoirs.

Professional Memberships

  • American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • US National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
  • P.E. License (Italy), 1998


(2016). Data assimilation of surface displacements to improve geomechanical parameters of gas storage reservoirs. Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid Earth, 121 (3), pp. 1441-1461.
(2016). Ensemble smoothing of land displacements and deep compaction for the geomechanical characterization of hydrocarbon reservoirs. In Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering: From the Past to the Future (pp. 1171-1176).
(2015). Estimate of a spatially variable reservoir compressibility by assimilation of ground surface displacement data. Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, 372 (9), pp. 351-356. (Full Text)., Abstract: Abstract. Fluid extraction from producing hydrocarbon reservoirs can cause anthropogenic land subsidence. In this work, a 3-D finite-element (FE) geomechanical model is used to predict the land surface displacements above a gas field where displacement observations are available. An ensemble-based...
(2015). Management of Aquifer Systems Connected to Streams Using Semi-Analytical Models. In Wang LK, Yang CT, Wang M-HS (Ed.), Advances in Water Resources Management (Vol. 16, pp. 111-246), Abstract: This volume provides in-depth coverage of such topics as multi-reservoir system operation theory and practice, management of aquifer systems connected to streams using semi-analytical models, one-dimensional model of water quality and ...