Fiona Johnson

Associate Professor
Sch-Civil & Environmental Eng
Contact details:
(+61 2) 9385 9769
(+61 2) 9385 6139

Civil Engineering Building (H20)
Level 3, Room CE309
Kensington Campus

I am a civil engineer, hydro-climatologist and humanitarian. My research focuses on understanding the science of rainfall extremes, how rainfall and hydrology will change in the future and how these impacts can be mitigated through improved engineering for Australia and communities in the developing world. My passion is to translate scientific knowledge into practical outcomes.

Courses taught

My teaching is in the areas of water resources engineering and Humanitarian Engineering. I have coordinated and taught the following courses during my time at UNSW.

  • ENGG1000 Introduction to Engineering Design and Innovation
  • ENGG3001 Fundamentals of Humanitarian Engineering
  • ENGG4102 Humanitarian Engineering Project
  • CVEN3501 Water Resources Engineering
  • CVEN4507 Advanced Water Engineering
  • CVEN9611 Urban Hydrology
  • CVEN9612 Catchment and Water Resources Modelling
  • CVEN9625 Fundamentals of Water Engineering

PhD Students

I am currently supervising or co-supervising 6 PhD students.  Their topics are:

  • Flood modelling in sparsely gauged catchments
  • Resilience of hydrological models under climate change
  • Methods for assessing droughts under climate change
  • Extreme rainfalls at high altitudes
  • Algae in shallow urban lakes
  • Detection and attribution of climate change

I am always looking for great students for projects related to:

  • Extreme rainfalls – spatial models, future changes, multi duration relationships
  • Climate model evaluation and applications for water resources projects
  • Improved flood forecasting methods
  • Humanitarian engineering

Professional Organisations and Consulting positions

Member, Engineers without Borders

Member, Engineers Australia

Member, Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

Member, Asia Oceania Geosciences Society

Member, Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand

Member, American Geophysical Union

Awards and Grants


2017 Modsim Early Career Research Excellence Prize

2011 Malcolm Chaikin prize for Research Excellence at UNSW for the best PhD in engineering in 2010

Best presentation award at 2012 Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium for paper "Application of Bayesian GLSR to estimate sub daily rainfall parameters for the IFD Revision Project"


CI Glamore, CI Johnson – Developing an integrated water balance budget for Thirlmere Lakes, NSW Government, Office of Environment and Heritage, 2017-2020, $230 000

CI Johnson, CI Sharma, PI Chowdhury, PI Beecham; Assessing future drought risk for water resources system management; ARC Linkage (LP150100548); 2015-2018; $300,000

CI Thomas, CI Johnson – Conduct field trial to assess effectiveness of household and community level WASH interventions in reducing climate sensitivity of diarrhoeal diseases, World Health Organisation (2015-2018), US$300 000

CI Westra, CI Johnson, PI Fowler, PI Lenderink, PI Zwiers; A spatial extremes framework for predicting subdaily rainfall intensity; ARC Discovery (DP150100411); 2015-2017; $275 900

CI Sharma, CI Johnson, CI Liu, PI Moradkhani, PI Muddu, PI Wang, PI Robertson;  Reducing flood loss - A data-assimilation framework for improving forecasting capability in sparsely gauged regions; ARC Discovery (DP140102394); 2014-2016; $550,000



PhD (Civil Engineering), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 2010


Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) (Honours and University Medal), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 2002