My research interests are in the hydrological response behaviour of tropical catchments, especially catchments which experience distinct rainfall seasonality. I've combined both fieldwork and hydrological modelling techniques to better understand rainfall-runoff response behaviour.

An important area of research activity focuses on urban stormwater remediation using blue green infrastructure and water sensitive urban design techniques to achieve hydrological and stormwater runoff quality improvements. This work includes historical and indigeneous knowledges to better understand hydrological processes and events (e.g. floods) for the purpose of improved catchment management.

Areas that I have worked in include Southeast Asia, India, Sri Lanka, China and now Australia often with a multi-disciplinary group of scientists and government agencies.

Current projects:

a) Blue green infrastructure and flood mitigation (tropical coastal cities)

b) Preferential water and nutrient movement via palaeochannels (a Queensland Water Modelling Network Big Ideas project)

c) Palaeofloods (what boulders tell us about floods)

d) Catchment water balance modelling using stable water isotopes  

e) Smart tropical urban catchments (smart sensing, water sensitive urban design, liveability)**

f) Rainfall-runoff response behaviour of tropical forested catchments


Information about some of the latest projects I'm involved in:


Also check out the exciting work that I am involved in with my academic group members here:


Please contact me if you are interested to work with me and my colleagues on the above listed projects.

Information about graduate studies at JCU is available here: 



**This project won the Program Innovation Award at the 2019 Queensland Water Awards (https://watersource.awa.asn.au/technology/innovation/queenslands-most-innovative-celebrated-at-water-industry-awards/). 

  • EA2006: Hydrology (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • EA3007: Field Studies in Tropical Land and Water Science (Level 3; CNS)
  • EA3008: Advanced Hydrology (Level 3; CNS)
  • EA5016: Hydrology (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • EA5018: Field Studies in Tropical Land and Water Science (Level 5; CNS)
  • EA5090: Applied Hydrology (Level 5; CNS)
  • EV1005: Environmental Processes and Global Change (Level 1; CNS)
  • EV3454: Natural Hazards (Level 3; TSV & CNS)
  • EV5454: Natural Hazards (Level 5; TSV)

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 27+ research outputs authored by Dr HanShe Lim from 2003 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Tender

Improving the flood resilience of a tropical urban catchment using hydraulic modelling approaches, tribal science and historical sources of information

Indicative Funding
$45,185 over 1 year
This project uses hydrological modelling to assess flood mitigation strategies under different climate change conditions for a tropical urban catchment in Cairns (Saltwater Creek). Model predictions are validated against field measurements and non-traditional sources of information including Traditional Owner knowledge and experiences of past floods and archival documents. The project involves ranger training in flow measurement and water quality assessment. The use of multiple lines of evidence to validate the flood model predictions decreases the risk associated with decision making around flood protection measures and urban development. The project outcomes will guide Cairns Regional Council and local communities in adaptive land use and investment planning under climate change for Saltwater Creek and similar coastal urban catchments.This is a collaborative project between Cairns Regional Council, Gimuy Walubara Yidinji Elders Aboriginal Corporation and Abriculture.
HanShe Lim, Lynne Powell and Iain Brown (College of Science & Engineering and Cairns City Council)
Urban floods; Traditional owner participation; Water sensitive urban design; Hydraulic models; Resilience; Climate change

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Tender

Modelling unseen flow pathways of water and contaminants in the Wet Tropics: the role of alluvial palaeochannels

Indicative Funding
$44,982 over 1 year
Approximately 50% of nitrogen loss from agricultural landscapes in the Wet Tropics occurs via subsurface flow pathways. We know little about the partitioning of subsurface flows, especially through palaeochannels where field evidence shows them to be zones of preferential pathways of water movement and likely nutrients. This project, led by JCU, seeks to develop an adequate understanding of the role palaeochannels play in subsurface flow movement. We then make recommendations to the modelling community on how to model these landscapes better in order to guide intervention measures (e.g. bioreactors, constructed wetlands) to reduce nutrient release into environmentally sensitive coastal areas (GBR).
HanShe Lim, Paul Nelson, Alex Cheesman, Tony Weber, Liz Owen, Dennis Ah-Kee, Marcus Bulstrode and David Morrison (College of Science & Engineering, Alluvium Consulting, Jaragun Pty Ltd, DAF and Department of Natural Resources and Mines)
Palaeochannels; Contaminant transport; Subsurface flow; Wet Tropics

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Tender

An Innovative approach to documenting the largest floods in the Wet Tropics catchments and determining their effects on pollutant fluxes to the Reef.

Indicative Funding
The project examines the magnitude and impacts of past extreme floods in the Barron and Daintree Rivers using a wide range of information types that includes geomorphic evidence (slackwater deposits), historical documents and indigenous knowledge. This information will be used to estimate the impacts of these extreme floods on material fluxes that are of concern for reef health. It also extends our knowledge of flooding impacts on the environment and societies beyond the modern gauged record. The outcomes of the project form the basis of a larger DES grant application aimed at modelling the impact of extreme floods in the Wet Tropics.
HanShe Lim, Robert Wasson and Gillian McCloskey (College of Science & Engineering and Department of Natural Resources and Mines)
Extreme floods; Pollutant loads; Great Barrier Reef

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, DAF, TropWater, Terrain Natural Resource Management and Australian Wetlands Consulting)
sugarcane; Water quality; nitrate; runoff; Wet Tropics; Great Barrier Reef

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.

  • Application of modelling tools to study the role of water-sensitive urban design (wsud) technology to mitigate flooding problems in tropical cities (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Optimal management of coastal aquifers subjected to vertical saltwater intrusion due to episodic flooding: an integrated simulation-optimization approach (PhD , Secondary 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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