Currently at Discipline of Civil Engineering, College of Science and Engineering, Division of Tropical Environments and Societies at James Cook University, Australia. Also associated with: Water Quality and Contaminants Research Group, TropWATER (Centre for Tropical Waters and Aquatic Ecosystem Research), the Economic Geology Research Centre (EGRU) at James Cook University, and CRC-for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment (CRC-CARE), University of Newcastle, Australia. He completed his B.Tech. (Hons.) degree in Civil Engineering from the internationally renowned and premiere Engineering University in India, I.I.T Kharagpur,  with first class Honors, and was a rank holder. He then completed his Masters Degree in Civil Engineering with 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, from the School of Civil Engineering, Purdue University,  U.S.A.  He is a Fellow of the Engineers Australia (FIEAust). 

After completion of his Ph.D. he worked in various 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 was promoted to the Position of Professor in 1995 and also Senior Professor Position in 2009.  There, he also held the positions of Professor and Head of the Civil Engineering Department, and Head of the interdisciplinary Postgraduate 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 (30+) and has completed successful guidance of many Ph.D. theses: eight at I.I.T. Kanpur India; then ten at James Cook University (by 2022),  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 (dams) 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 integrated Bachelors and Masters degree program in Civil Engineering at I.I.T. Kanpur, during his headship of the Civil Engineering Department. This program was designed to attract the best student talents to postgraduate studies in Engineering. At JCU, he is currently the Coordinator of the recently established Master of Engineering (Professional) program in Water Resources Management.

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 the Water Resources Sector in the state of U.P., India. He has served as a member of the high powered committee of the Government of India for final clearance of Large Scale River Basin Projects, including hydropower projects. At James Cook University he was the project leader and sole PI 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 groundwater pollution, funded by CRC-CARE, University of Newcasle, Australia, and University of South Australia, Adelaide. The total cash funding for this project including additional full Scholarship support for Ph.D. students, and dedicated project funding which ammounted 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)
  • CS5108: Advanced Ground Water Modelling and Management (Level 5; TSV)
  • CS5208: Advanced Water Resource System Planning and Management (Level 5; TSV)
  • CS5308: Advanced Water and Wastewater Engineering (Level 5; TSV)
  • CS5402: Advanced Hydraulic and Coastal Engineering (Level 5; TSV)
  • EG5311: Research Project 1 (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • EG5312: Research Project 2 (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • Water Resources Systems Management; Systems Engineering; Groundwater Contamination Management; Coastal Aquifer Saltwater intrusion control; Reservoir Operations, Drought prediction.
Research Disciplines

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 169+ 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 3 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, Liz Owen, HanShe Lim, Bithin Datta, Colin MacGregor and Ian Layden in collaboration with Nathan Waltham, Bart Dryden and Mark Bayley (College of Science & Engineering, Jaragun Pty Ltd, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, TropWater, Terrain Natural Resource Management and Australian Wetland Consulting)
sugarcane; Water quality; nitrate; runoff; Wet Tropics; Great Barrier Reef

FNQ NRM Ltd (Terrain Natural Resource Management) - Contract Research

Johnstone bioreactor data analysis ? first 6 months

Indicative Funding
In the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (WTMIP), bioreactor 'walls' are being trialled for their ability to remove nitrate from shallow groundwater leaving sugarcane fields. Bioreactor walls consist of a woodchip-filled trench, approximately 30 m long x 2 m deep x 1 m wide, perpendicular to groundwater flow direction. To determine their effectiveness, the removal of nitrate from water flowing through them must be measured. In this project we will calculate nitrate removal in a bioreactor in the Johnstone catchment during the Jan-Jun 2019 period, using topographic survey, rainfall, water table depth and solute concentration data.
Paul Nelson, Bithin Datta and Alex Cheesman (College of Science & Engineering)
Water Quality; Nitrate; Bioreactor; Groundwater; Sugarcane; Hydrology

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

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

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.

  • Linked Simulation- optimization methodology for reactive contaminant source characterization and optimal design of monitoring networks in abandoned mine sites (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • North Queensland mountain range fractured rock aquifers and their influence on lower coastal aquifers: an investigation into the hydraulic connectivity between Keelbottom Creek catchment and Black River groundwater via Hervey Range fractured rock aquifers (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Development of efficient mathematical models and optimal management strategies for controlling saltwater intrusion into complex coastal aquifers in pacific island countries (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

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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