Bahram Gharabaghi

Headshot of Prof. Gharabaghi
School of Engineering
Phone number: 
(519) 824-4120 ext. 58451
THRN 2417
Available positions for grads/undergrads/postdoctoral fellows: 


Field monitoring equipment for both surface and groundwater water quantity and quality; laboratory water quality sample analysis equipment; advanced computers and specialized software for modelling.


We install real-time monitoring stations to study the movement of water and pollution within our surface and groundwater systems. We use monitoring data for model calibration and to study the fate and transport of pollution to develop better management policy guidelines and standards.

Education and Employment Background

Dr. Bahram Gharabaghi received his PhD in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Guelph in 1999. From 1999 to 2001 he held a position as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph. He then worked as a Hydrologist at Golder Associates, Mississauga, Ontario from 2001 to 2003. In 2003, Gharabaghi rejoined the School of Engineering at the University of Guelph where he is now a full professor.

Research Themes

Gharabaghi’s research has primarily been focused on watershed scale water quality models to improve the accuracy of calculations of these management tools for protection of source waters from further degradation and to develop effective strategies for improvement of the quality of impaired water bodies in Ontario. He has more than twenty years of experience in research and development in hydrologic modelling and non-point source pollution control in Canada and internationally. Gharabaghi is currently leading several research projects in collaboration with Conservation Authorities, Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Natural Resources, and Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Key research themes include:

  1. Modeling tools for source water quality protection. During storm events, runoff flows from land surfaces and spreads contaminants from their source to the entire ecosystem. Identification/quantification of contaminants, their sources and transport processes are important in development of improved watershed management strategies. Despite major progress in effective use of remote sensed data and integration of GIS technology in watershed-scale hydrologic modeling in recent years, there remains a fundamental gap in our knowledge of transmission of water, suspended sediments and associated contaminants over the land surface and through shallow groundwater system. Gharabaghi seeks to develop an enhanced watershed-scale water quality model that would enable pollutants to be traced back to their sources more accurately and help allocate management resources more efficiently.
  2. Stormwater and aquatic habitat monitoring. Gharabaghi and his team have examined principal physical, chemical, and biological mechanisms that regulate the transport, transformation, deposition, and re-entry of stormwater runoff contaminants, including sediments, nutrients and bacteria during lateral movement of overland flow through vegetative filter strips, differing in vegetation type, density and width in Southern Ontario conditions.
  3. Nutrient management model development and research. Agricultural intensification has contributed to elevated nutrient loads in many river systems that lead to impairment of the aquatic habitat. Elevated bacteria and nutrient levels in streams and frequent beach postings in Ontario have impacted the tourism industry and local economy. To achieve water quality targets for intended uses, information is required on sources of pollutants such as sediments and nutrients loads associated with agricultural and other land use activities in the watershed. Gharabaghi explores effective management strategies to reduce loadings of nutrients, pathogens and trace contaminants from urban stormwater. He has explored excessive nutrient levels found in Lake Simcoe and the impact on cold water fisheries and beaches.


  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Discovery, Alliance, 2020-present
  • Member, Professional Engineers of Ontario, 2002–present
  • Lake Simcoe Science Advisory Committee Member, 2010–present
  • Member, Road Salt Management Working Group of Environment Canada, 2010–present

Media Coverage

Lake Simcoe Science Committee