Vishal Mehta

Senior Scientist


Davis, CA
vishal.mehta@sei-us.org
+1 (530) 753-3035 x3#

Vishal is a hydrologist and environmental scientist with experience in water resources, forest conservation and rural development. With SEI's US Center in Davis, he is currently working on the impacts of climate change on California's water supply, urban water management planning with utilities in the US, India and East Africa, and innovative informational technology tools for communicating complex information. His expertise includes forest ecosystem sciences, distributed hydrological modeling, and geospatial analysis using several open-source and commercial geographic information systems. His main interests are in environment and development policy planning and assessment, with a focus on developing countries.
Vishal received his Ph.D. in Soil, Crop and Atmospheric Sciences from Cornell University, Ithaca in 2007.


Recent Publications by Vishal Mehta

Image

Exploring scientific information for policy making under deep uncertainty

Environmental Modelling & Software, 86, 232-247

Author(s): Forni, L. ; Galaitsi, S. ; Mehta, V. ; Escobar, M. ; Purkey, D. ; Depsky, N.; Lima, N.A.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: This paper describes the use of a Decision Space Visualization (DSV) that condenses model results to tackle complex water management challenges. It presents tools for discussing scientific results to decision-makers in two case studies, La Paz/El Alto, Bolivia, and Yuba County, California. Visualization output from the case studies combines spatiotemporal, multivariate and multirun/multiscenario information to produce information corresponding to the objectives and uncertainties described by key actors. These tools can manage complex data and distill scientific information into accessible formats.
More information
External Link


Image

Metabolic urbanism and environmental justice: The water conundrum in Bangalore, India

Environmental Justice, 7(5), 130-137

Author(s): Mehta, V. ; Goswami, R.; Kemp-Benedict, E.; Muddu, S.; Malghan, D.
Year: 2014

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: This article uses the example of domestic household water consumption patterns in Bangalore to demonstrate how the city's hydrology is shaped by social, political and economic variables. Anthropologists, sociologists, geographers, and urban studies scholars have recorded the causes and consequences of inequities that underscore rapidly burgeoning cities in the global South. The authors argue that such accounts of urbanism are incomplete without accounting for the inequities in metabolic flows of matter and energy that physically sustains the city. They present a simple coupled social-ecological framework that allows them to sketch the broad contours of this social hydrology of Bangalore.
More information
External Link


Image

Addressing Climate Change in Local Water Agency Plans: Demonstrating a Simplified Robust Decision Making Approach in the California Sierra Foothills

RAND Corporation Research Report RR-491-CEC

Author(s): Groves, D.G. ; Yates, D. ; Mehta, V. ; Bloom, E.; Johnson, D.R.
Year: 2013

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: Water agencies are increasingly seeking to address climate change in their long-term planning. Doing so, however, requires moving beyond traditional planning approaches to ones that can incorporate information about future hydrologic conditions, demographic changes, and other management conditions that are deeply uncertain or not statistically well characterized. This report describes an approach for planning under deep uncertainty, called Robust Decision Making (RDM), and demonstrates its application in a research study with the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID), a water agency located in the California Sierra Nevada Mountains. Using RDM, the authors, in collaboration with EID, tested the robustness of their current long-term plan across more than 50 futures reflecting different assumptions about future climate, urban growth, and the availability of important new supplies.
More information
External Link


Image

Social Ecology of Domestic Water Use in Bangalore

Economic & Political Weekly, Vol. XLVIII No. 15, April 13, 2013, Special Article, 40-50

Author(s): Mehta, V. ; Kemp-Benedict, E. ; Goswami, R.; Muddu, S.; Malghan, D.
Year: 2013

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: This paper develops a metabolic framework for domestic water use in Bangalore, one of the fastest-growing urban agglomerations in India. The rapid growth of urban India has added new saliency to the resource conflict between the burgeoning cities and village India that continues to be the home for vast majority of Indians. Cities, like living organisms, depend on external metabolic flows to keep them alive. Among all the metabolic flows of matter and energy none is more important than water – especially water used for meeting basic drinking water and other domestic consumption needs. Our urban metabolism framework treats Bangalore as a tightly coupled social-ecological system and shows that a spatially explicit understanding of consumption patterns is crucial to addressing three central aspects of the water conundrum – equity, ecological sustainability and economic efficiency.
External Link


Image

Simulating High Elevation Hydropower with Regional Climate Warming in the West Slope Sierra Nevada

Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, online first

Author(s): Rheinheimer, D. ; Sieber, J. ; Mehta, V. ; Viers, J. ; Kiparshy, M.; Ligare, S.
Year: 2013

Research Area(s): Water Resources

Description: This article describes the development of a water resources management model for the upper west slope Sierra Nevada to understand the potential effects of regional climate warming on hydropower at the watershed scale, and the results of that model. Water systems in snowmelt-dominated hydro-regions such as California's Sierra Nevada mountains are sensitive to regional climate change, hydropower systems in particular. The authors developed a water resources management model for the upper west slope Sierra Nevada to understand the potential effects of regional climate warming on hydropower at the watershed scale. The model was developed with the Water Evaluation And Planning system (WEAP) and includes most water management infrastructure in the study region. The study found that the highly productive northern Sierra Nevada would see large reductions in hydropower generation due to decreases in annual runoff related to climate change.
More information
External Link