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Dr Wolfgang Schmid

Senior Research Scientist


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During his time at CSIRO, Dr Schmid has worked on
* Sustainable water management in Western Australia on projects ranging from Managed Aquifer Recharge to more efficient methods of predicting recharge for groundwater allocation planning,
* Assessing the risks of exceeding regulatory targets (whether it be contamination targets for waster water treatment of groundwater level targets to avoid irreversible land subsidence),
* Integrated basin modelling projects in South Asia (in particular Indus Basin of Pakistan & Brahmani-Baitarni of India),
* Bioregional Assessments of the impacts of Coal Seam Gas and coal mining development on water resources,
* Direct, indirect and cumulative impacts of coal seam dewatering and related land subsidence, and
* Groundwater pathway analysis to assess impact of fraccing chemicals.

Prior to joining CSIRO in 2012, Dr Schmid worked as Assistant Research Professor and Research Hydrologist at the University of Arizona mainly on computational solutions of water resources management in arid and semi-arid areas. He is the main author of ‘The Farm Process’ for MODFLOW now integrated into MODFLOW-OWHM ( Before that, Dr Schmid worked as Hydrogeologist in consultancies in Germany and the United Arab Emirates for the German companies GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) and Dornier-Consulting (subsidiary of EADS Germany) with emphasis on groundwater exploration, groundwater modelling, and contaminant hydrogeology.

Other Interests

  • Use of machine learning as a precursor to generate inferred datasets that then are used to inform/constrain numerical models (e.g., for InSAR-derived land subsidence).
  • Participatory surface-water/groundwater conjunctive use modelling, where one can develop custom socio-economic and management scenarios for the MODFLOW family of codes (in specific the Farm Process, FMP). (workshop given on that topic at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna Pisa (SSSAP), Italy in 2018; current interest in applying a participatory model similar to the work of CSIRO Chile to an Australian Case Study).
  • Workshops for using MODFLOW OWHM with the Farm Process (2013: CSIRO Perth; 2014: Technical University Munich (TUM), Germany, 2017) jointly with FREEWAT (FREE and open source tools for WATer resource management, a HORIZON 2020 project,, of which I am on the advisory board (2017: TUM, Munich, Germany; 2018: SSSAP, Pisa, Italy).
  • Online ICEWaRM worshop on Groundwater modelling with MODFLOW (Free Webinar in 2019).
  • Generally: Conjunctive surface water / groundwater management & modelling, e.g.,;
  • Hydrologic hindcast or forecast models that simulate constrained surface-water and groundwater supply driven by water demand (e.g., irrigation demand) within fully coupled systems of land use, surface-water, and groundwater.
  • Response of water demand/supply to changing conditions by dynamically linking hydrologic models to models that simulate these external changes (e.g., climate changes, droughts, sea level rise, salt water intrusion, land-use changes, resource exploitation, changes in water rights).
  • Dynamic dependency of surface-water/groundwater interaction on changing heads, flows, and aquifer deformation. This includes:

    1. Improved coupling between river system models and MODFLOW groundwater models with focus on (i) coupling to expand SW/GW interaction to demand-supply interaction across the SW-GW model interface; (ii) type of coupling (i.e., tight vs. loose).

    2. Impacts of aquifer compaction/expansion on surface deformation, deformation-dependent surface-water/groundwater interaction & conjunctive use, and deformation dependency of aquifer-hydraulic properties.

Current Roles

  • Project Leader
    Appropriate Recharge Model Complexity for groundwater allocation models in Western Australia

  • Project Leader
    Land Subsidence Assessment in New South Wales (two project: Namoi Basin & southern inland NSW)

  • Groundwater Modelling
    Sustainable water management in Western Australia (e.g., Myalup irrigated area; Transform Pilbara; Peel food zone; Probabilistic assessment of treated wastewater nutrient attenuation)

  • Groundwater Modelling
    Sustainable Development Investment Strategy project on Indus Basin of Pakistan

Academic Qualifications

  • 2004

    Doctor of Philosophy, Hydrology
    University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

  • 1994

    Diplom, Geology
    University of Tübingen, Germany

  • 1994

    Diplom, Geography
    University of Tübingen, Germany

Professional Experiences

  • 2012-present

    Senior Research Scientist
    CSIRO Land and Water, Canberra (Black Mountain, ACT) & Perth (Floreat, WA), Australia

  • Nov 2009-Dec 2011

    Assistant Research Professor
    University of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources

  • Aug 2004-Oct 2009

    Research Hydrologist
    University of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources

  • Jan 2000-Aug 2004

    PhD Student
    University of Arizona, Department of Hydrology and Water Resources

  • Feb 1998-Nov 1999

    Consortium GTZ (German Technical Cooperation) and Dornier-Consulting, Groundwater Assessment Abu Dhabi

Achievements and Awards

  • 2009

    Kevin J Neese Award - Groundwater Assocation of California
    Major Contributor to the awarded USGS team effort on modelling the “Groundwater Availability of the Central Valley Aquifer,”

  • 2014-2018

    CSIRO Chairman's Medal - Bioregional Assessments CSIRO

We have publications by Dr Wolfgang Schmid