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Directory profile for Dr. Mesfin Mekonnen

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  • 1065 Cyber Hall
  • Phone (205) 348-1588
  • Fax (205) 348-0783
  • Email
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Dr. Mesfin Mekonnen

Assistant Professor


  • 1065 Cyber Hall
  • phone (205) 348-1588
  • fax (205) 348-0783
  • Email

Research Areas


  • Ph.D., Water Engineering and Water Management, University of Twente, The Netherlands, 2011
  • M.S, Environmental Science and Technology, UNESCO-IHE Institute for Infrastructure, Water and Environment, The Netherlands, 2005
  • B.A., Economics, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, 2003
  • M.S, Renewable Energy, University of Oldenburg, Germany, 1994
  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, 1989

Dr. Mesfin Mekonnen is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, The University of Alabama.

His research focuses on understanding the interactions between human and natural systems in determining the sustainability of freshwater resources. His specialties include water footprint assessment, water scarcity assessment, water management, crop water use modeling, spatial modeling and water for energy.

Prior to joining the University of Alabama, Mekonnen worked as a research assistant professor and postdoctoral associate at the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, University of Nebraska, from 2016 to 2020. From 2011 to 2016, we worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente in the Netherlands where he gained research experience in water footprint assessment, modeling water use in crop and animal production, water productivity assessment, and assessing global water scarcity.

Mekonnen has published more than 50 highly cited peer-reviewed articles. He is a member of the editorial board of Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems journal.

Affiliated Areas
Center for Water Quality Research, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

Selected Publications

  • Mekonnen, M.M. and Hoekstra, A.Y. (2020) Sustainability of the blue water footprint of crops. Advances in Water Resources, 143:103679
  • Richter BD, Bartak D, Caldwell P, Davis KF, Debaere P, Hoekstra AY, Li T, Marston L, McManamay R, Mekonnen MM, Ruddell BL, Rushforth RR, Troy TJ (2020) Water scarcity and fish imperilment driven by beef production. Nature Sustainability. doi:10.1038/s41893-020-0483-z
  • Mekonnen, M.M., Hoekstra, A.Y., Neale, C.M.U., Ray, C., Yang, H.S. (2020) Water productivity benchmarks: The case of maize and soybean in Nebraska. Agricultural Water Manage 234:106122. doi:
  • Gonçalves, I.Z., Mekonnen, M.M., Neale, C.M.U., Campos, I., Neale, M.R. (2020) Temporal and spatial variations of irrigation water use for commercial corn fields in Central Nebraska. Agricultural Water Management 228, 105924.
  • Schyns, J.F., Hoekstra, A.Y., Booij, M.J., Hogeboom, R.J. and Mekonnen, M.M. (2019) Limits to the world’s green water resources for food, feed, fibre, timber and bio-energy, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116(1), 4893-4898.

Awards and Honors

  • Joint Japan/World Bank graduate scholarship, UNESCO-IHE, The Netherlands, 2003-2005
  • Carl Duisberg Gesellschaft e.V. advanced training scholarship, German Wind Energy Institute (DEWI), Germany, 2000
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) graduate scholarship, University of Oldenburg, Germany, 1993-1994

Dr. Mekonnen's Impact

5 cows on a grassy hill in a clear day

Making the Most of Every Drop: Research Shows Dairy Industry Posts the Largest Gains in Water Productivity

“The WP of all livestock products – beef, pork, chicken, turkey, milk, and eggs – increased considerably from 1.8 times for beef to 5.1 times for milk,” said Mesfin Mekonnen,...

The Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering Department Has Added Dr. Mesfin Mekonnen

From working and studying in three continents, Dr. Mesfin Mekonnen has gained a worldly view of an important natural resource — water. Mekonnen joined The University of Alabama in 2020...

Read More News about Dr. Mekonnen

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