Dr. Karen G. Villholth has more than 25 years of experience in groundwater resources assessment and management. She deals with research, policy advice, and capacity development related to groundwater irrigation for smallholders, transboundary aquifers, groundwater resources assessment and modelling, climate change and groundwater, adaptation through underground solutions, role of depleting aquifers in global food production, groundwater and eco-system services, and groundwater management and governance for institutions at various levels, from local to global. She engages with multidisciplinary teams and stakeholders in co-developing tools, approaches, and policies to a more sustainable use of groundwater for livelihoods, food security, and environmental integrity.
Karen is a Principal Researcher and a sub-Theme Leader, working with IWMI, International Water Management Institute, from the Southern Africa regional office in Pretoria, South Africa. She is leading the global IWMI-led partnership initiative on Groundwater Solutions for Policy and Practice (GRIPP) that aims to enhance attention to and improvement in groundwater management in countries heavily reliant on groundwater for irrigation and food production.
Karen holds a PhD in Groundwater Assessment and a MSc in Chemical Engineering from the Technical University of Denmark and a MSc in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington. She previously worked for DHI-Water and Environment and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland. She is co-Manager on two Commissions within IAH, the International Association of Hydrogeologists: the one on Groundwater for Decision Makers and the one on Governance of Transboundary Aquifers. She is co-author of three books related to groundwater and more than 50 peer-reviewed journal papers.