When water stops flowing
Growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, Hassaan Khan had personal experience with water outages. “We sometimes had days without running water so we used to fetch water in buckets from neighbors.” When he came to the U.S., he originally wanted to study mechanical or electrical engineering, but his upbringing soon drew his interest toward the field of environmental engineering with a special focus on water management. After graduating from Lafayette College with a bachelors in 2013, he earned degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, MS ‘16, PhD ’18. His concentration in water management led him to Stanford Earth, where he started as a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Earth System Science in 2018.
Spurred by his passion to help developing countries manage their scarce water resources, he is currently part of an international interdisciplinary team collaborating with the government of Jordan. To help societies make the best use of their water resources, he develops mathematical models to simulate how water moves through the environment and how different users make water management decisions. Given that water has many stakeholders with varying interests, water management issues are often misunderstood. “Issues related to water management are often oversimplified to the stage where they no longer make sense,” he said.
Khan is also passionate about teaching future generations about water management and helping to build capacity in developing countries to tackle their water resource challenges. He hopes to continue with an academic career in Pakistan where he can combine his research with teaching and mentoring.