Currently at Discipline of Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at James Cook University, Australia, also Team Leader, Water Quality and Contaminants Research Group, TropWATER (Centre for Tropical Waters and Aquatic Ecosystem Research) at James Cook University, and at CRC-for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC-CARE), Adelaide. He completed his B.Tech. (Hons.) degree from the internationally renowned and premiere Engineering University in India, I.I.T Kgp, , with First Class Honors, and was a rank holder. He then completed his Masters Degree in Civil Engineering with the first rank in his specialization.  He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from Purdue University in U.S.A.  Specializing in Hydraulics and Systems Engineering, with a Major in Water Resources and Minor in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

   He worked in Post-Doctoral Research Positions at University of Washington, Seattle, WA, U.S.A., University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, U.S.A., and then as a Research Faculty at University of California, Davis, CA, U.S.A.,  totaling bout 11 years. He then joined the Civil Engineering Department at IIT Kanpur in India, and advanced to the Position of Professor in 1995 and also Senior Professor Position in 2009.  There, he also held the position of Professor and Head of Civil Engineering, and Head of the Environmental Engineering and Management Program.  He also served as Visiting Professor at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, Denmark Technical University, Copenhagen, and Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok. He has guided many Master’s Theses and has completed guidance of many Ph.D. theses, at I.I.T. Kanpur India, then at James Cook University,  and one at University of South Australia, Adelaide. He has authored: many Technical Articles in very reputed peer reviewed international Journals, Book Chapters, and numerous Conference papers. He is also internationally well known for his pioneering research work on Optimal Identification of unknown pollution sources in contaminated Groundwater aquifers,  design of optimal monitoring networks incorporating  uncertainties for management of contaminated aquifers, management of coastal aquifers for saltwater intrusion control and remediation, and real-time operation of water reservoir systems. He was the Co-chair of the  ASCE-EWRI  (American Society of Civil Engineers- Environmental and Water  Resources Institute) International conference on Water and Environmental Systems held first time outside U.S.A. He also, served as an advisor in the Water Resources Systems Technical Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers.

     He was instrumental in guiding to successful completion a new and successful integrated Bachelor's and Masters degree program at I.I.T. Kanpur, during his headship of the Civil Engineering Department designed to attract the best student talents to postgraduate studies in Engineering. He has been the  project leader in a number of state of the art  applied mega research projects related to Hydrologic Modeling and Water Resources/ Groundwater Management, first in U.S.A., then in India. He has worked as advisor to the U.P. government in the World Bank supported project on Restructuring of Water Resources Sector in the state of U.P., India. He has served as a member of the high power committee of Government of India for final clearance of Large Scale River Basin Projects, including hydropower projects. At James Cook University he is the project leader of a Mega, technology development project: developing computational tools for identification of unknown groundwater pollution sources and optimal design of monitoring networks for detection of pollution, funded by CRC-CARE, University of South Australia, Adelaide. The total cash funding including additional full Scholarship support for Ph.D. students, and dedicated project funding amounts to $629,000.00, starting in 2009.

  • CS2002: Catchment, Stream and Lake Engineering (Level 2; TSV)
  • CS4002: Hydraulic and Coastal Engineering (Level 4; TSV)
  • CS4008: Water and Wastewater Engineering (Level 4; TSV)
  • Water Resources Systems Management; Systems Engineering; Groundwater Contamination Management; Coastal Aquifer Saltwater intrusion control; Reservoir Operations
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 84+ research outputs authored by Dr Bithin Datta from 1981 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - Tender

Denitrification bioreactor trial in the Russell catchment of the Wet Tropics

Indicative Funding
$235,087 over 4 years (administered by Jaragun Pty Ltd)
This project will establish the effectiveness of denitrification bioreactors as an on-farm technology for removing dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) in waters draining the Babinda Swamp Drainage Area. The region has been identified as a hotspot for DIN in the Great Barrier Reef catchment. This will be the first trial of denitrification bioreactors in the Wet Tropics. Denitrifying bioreactors route water through a high-carbon substrate under anaerobic conditions to encourage denitrification (the conversion of DIN to atmospheric N2). Two bioreactor configurations will be tested at two sites, and the potential for broader adoption will be assessed.
Paul Nelson, Alex Cheesman, HanShe Lim, Bithin Datta, Colin MacGregor, Ian Layden, Nathan Waltham, Bart Dryden and Mark Bayley (College of Science & Engineering, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, TropWATER, Terrain Natural Resource Management (Wet Tropics) and Australian Wetland Consulting)
sugarcane; Water quality; nitrate; runoff; Wet Tropics; Great Barrier Reef

CRC CARE - Contract Research

Developing Additional Computational Capabilities for Unknown Groundwater Contamination Source Characterization

Indicative Funding
$37,000 over 3 years
The most challenging problems in effective management of contaminated aquifers is the detection of contaminant movement in the subsurface, and to characterize the unknown sources of groundwater contamination in terms of magnitude, location, and timing. These are essential first steps in the remediation and management of contaminated quifers. This project will carry forward the research and outcome of the recently completed CR-CARE James Cook University project by Dr Bithin Datta on development of comprehensive and user-friendly computational tools for characterization of contaminant sources and designing effective monitoring networks under uncertainties for the characterization of the sources in a contaminated aquifer.
Bithin Datta (College of Science & Engineering)
Groundwater Pollution; Contaminant Source; Aquifer Management

CRC CARE - Research Grant

Development Validation and Delivery of Complete Set of Computational Tools for Monitoring Network Design of contaminated Aquifers and for identification/characterisation of groundwater contaminant sources.

Indicative Funding
$379,175 over 7 years
The first phase of this proposed project will be devoted to the development, validation, and final delivery of complete set of computer based tools for optimal design of efficient and effective monitoring networks for detection of contaminant movement in the aquifer. The second phase will be devoted to the development of another set of computer based comprehensive tools for detection of unknown sources of groundwater contamination. A comprehensive set of tools would be invaluable for reliable identification of unknown contaminant sources. The outcomes will provide new capabilities for detection of groundwater pollution, and characterization of the contaminant sources. These outcomes would be immensely useful for different organisation involved with management of contaminated aquifers to develop strategies for economical and efficient management of contaminated aquifer sites, and to prioritise sites for remediation.
Bithin Datta (College of Science & Engineering)
groundwater management; optimal identification; remediation of contaminated aquifiers; pollution source identification; monitoring network design

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These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Robust Optimal Management of Saltwater Intrusion in Costal Aquifer Using Couples Simulation - Optimization Compliance Monitoring and Feedback Information. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Evaluation of Mathematical Models and Tools for Assessing Groundwater Quality, Availability and Sustainability in Ground Water-Aquifer Resource Systems. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Optimal Dynamic Monitoring Network Design and Identification of Unknown Groundwater Pollution Sources (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Optimum Hydraulic Design of Cutoff in Dams. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Development of Sustainable Ground Water Management Strategy with Sequential Compliance Monitoring to control Saltwater Intrusion in Coastal Aquifers (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Development of Sustainable Groundwater Management Methodologies to Control Saltwater Intrusion into Coastal Aquifers and an application to a coastal aquifer in Tropical Pacific Island Country (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Multiple-Objective Optimal Groundwater Monitoring Network Design for Initial Detection of a Contaminant Plume Under Conditions of Uncertainty (Masters , Primary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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