Nelun Fernando, Ph.D., Editorial Board Member

Dr. Nelun Fernando is the manager of the Water Availability Department in the Surface Water Division at the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB). She is responsible for program oversight of the technical assistance provided to the regional water planning process, stewardship of the state’s reservoir evaporation data program, and provision of drought and water supply updates to the Texas State Drought Preparedness Council.

She is a graduate of the Texas Water Foundation’s Texas Water Leaders Program (2021 cohort) and has been working on Texas water issues since August 2011 when she came to TWDB as a University Corporation for Atmospheric Research – Postdocs Applying Climate Expertise postdoctoral fellow. Her responsibilities at TWDB have included leading research to assess drought predictability for Texas, assessing methods to improve runoff estimates over ungauged watersheds along the Texas coast, enhancing reservoir evaporation loss estimates for Texas through intentional investment in the collection of on-water reservoir evaporation data, and development of a new daily and reservoir specific evaporation database for Texas, conceptualizing and implementing a drought dashboard for Texas, and overseeing research studies that target knowledge gaps in the estimation of future available surface water in Texas.

Prior to delving into Texas water work, Dr. Fernando worked in industry (Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Pennsylvania), academia (teaching assistant and instructor in geographical information systems and remote sensing at Rutgers University, New Jersey, and a faculty position in geography at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka), the intergovernmental sector (Hydrology and Water Resources Program at the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva, Switzerland), and the non-governmental sector (Intermediate Technology Development Group, Sri Lanka country office).

She holds a B.A. (Honors) in geography from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, an M.A. in climate and society from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in geography (with a specialization in climatology) from Rutgers University.