Tibor Stigter PhD, MSc

Senior Lecturer in Hydrogeology and Groundwater Resources


Tibor Stigter has over 15 years of experience in groundwater hydrological research, training and capacity building. He has worked in more than 20 projects in Europe, Africa and South America. His main areas of expertise are: i) groundwater sustainability and vulnerability assessment, under influence of climate variability and climate change; ii) use of hydrogeochemical, multivariate and geostatistical tools to assess groundwater-surface water-wetland interactions and contamination induced by agricultural practices. 

Tibor Stigter obtained an MSc degree in Physical Geography/Geographical Hydrology in 1997 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and a PhD degree in Engineering Sciences (2005) from Instituto Superior Tecnico - Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa (IST-UTL), based on his thesis "Integrated analysis of hydrogeochemistry and assessment of groundwater contamination induced by agricultural practices". During his PhD study he performed multivariate, geostatistical and hydrogeochemical modelling, as well as groundwater vulnerability assessment, based on data obtained in a South-European project in which he worked after moving to Portugal.

From 2005 to 2013 he worked with several Post-Doc grants, at Instituto do Mar (IMAR) and Universidade do Algarve (UALG) and later on with a fixed-term contract at IST Lisbon. During this time he pursued his research on hydrochemical and isotopic tracers of agricultural impacts on groundwater, as well as quantitative aspects of groundwater sustainability in semi-arid regions. He coordinated the European/North African project CLIMWAT (http://www.circle-med.net/) on the impact of climate change on coastal aquifers, and co-coordinated Portuguese projects on groundwater-surface water interactions in coastal wetlands. He became familiar with groundwater issues in Latin-America through his collaboration in the AQUIFERURAL network on sustainable aquifer management in rural areas and the FP7 project ADMICCO - adaptation to climate change in coastal vulnerable cities (www.admicco.labor.org.pe). Through collaboration in the RVO-CVC project ESCACES - Evaluacion de las aguas Subterraneas en Condiciones climAtiCas ExtremaS en el Valle del Cauca (2014-2016) he studiegroundwater-surface water-wetland interactions in the Cauca Valley in Colombia. In recent years he has also worked with social scientists in interdisciplinary approaches to addressing groundwater management issues.

Since August 2013 he works at UNESCO-IHE as Sr. Lecturer in Hydrogeology and Groundwater Resources. Besides being envolved in research and capacity building projects, he is the coordinator of the Erasmus+ Mundus Joint Master Programme in Groundwater and Global Change - Impacts and Adaptation that he set up with European Funding. In addition, he is coordinator and lecturer of the yearly module and short course in Groundwater Data Collection and Interpretation. He further coordinates and provides training to students during the Hydrological Fieldwork in France (2 weeks) and during the Water Science and Engineering Groupwork (students from different disciplines working on a water resources master plan). He has supervised more than 25 Bsc, MSc, Post-MSc and PhD students. He has additional theoretical and practical training experience obtained during short courses he co-provided in Kenya, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Brazil, Argentina and the Caribbean, on Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment, Groundwater Resources Assessment and Water Resources Management.


  • Malta, E.-j., Stigter, T.Y., Pacheco, A., Carvalho Dill, A., Tavares, D., Santos, R., In press. Effects of external nutrient sources and extreme weather events on the nutrient budget of a Southern European coastal lagoon. Water Resources Management, doi: 10.1007/s11269-015-0994-y.
  • Stigter, T.Y., Varanda, M., Bento, S., Nunes, J.P. , Hugman, R., In press. Combined Assessment of Climate Change and Socio-Economic Development as Drivers of Freshwater Availability in the South of Portugal. Water Resources Management, doi: 10.1007/s11269-015-0994-y.
  • Shapouri, M., Cancela da Fonseca L., Iepure S., Stigter T., Ribeiro L., Silva A., 2016. The variation of stygofauna along a gradient of salinization in a coastal aquifer. Hydrology Research, 47:89-103, doi: 10.2166/nh.2015.153
  • Boukhari, K. Fakir, Y., Stigter, T.Y., Hajhouji, Y., Boulet, G., 2015. Origin of recharge and salinity and their role on management issues of a large alluvial aquifer system in the semi-arid Haouz plain, Morocco. Environmental Earth Sciences 73(10):6195-6212, doi: 10.1007/s12665-014-3844-y
  • Hugman, R., Stigter, T.Y., Monteiro, J.P., Costa, L., Nunes, L.M., 2015. Modeling the spatial and temporal distribution of coastal groundwater discharge for different water use scenarios under epistemic uncertainty: case study in South Portugal. Environmental Earth Sciences 73(6): 2657-2669, doi: 10.1007/s12665-014-3709-4
  • Santos, F.D., Stigter, T.Y., Faysse, N., Lourenco, T.C. 2014. Impacts and adaptation to climate change in the Mediterranean coastal areas: the CIRCLE-MED initiative. Regional Environmental Change 14 (S1):1-3, doi: 10.1007/s10113-013-0551-2Ribeiro, L., Stigter, T.Y., Chambel, A., Condesso de Melo, M.T., Monteiro, J. P., Medeiros, A. (Eds), 2013. Groundwater and Ecosystems, IAH Selected Papers on Hydrogeology, CRC Press/Balkema, Leiden, the Netherlands, 358 pp.
  • Stigter, T.Y., Nunes, J.P., Pisani, B., Fakir, Y., Hugman, R., Li, Y., Tome, S., Ribeiro, L., Samper, J., Oliveira, R., Monteiro, J.P., Silva, A., Tavares, P.C.F., Shapouri, M., Cancela da Fonseca, L., El Himer, H. 2014. Comparative assessment of climate change and its impacts on three coastal aquifers in the Mediterranean. Regional Environmental Change, 14 (S1):41-56, doi: 10.1007/s10113-012-0377-3
  • Carvalho Dill, A.M.M., Stigter, T.Y., Brito, R., Chicharo, M.A., Chicharo, L., 2014. The combined use of Radio Frequency-Electromagnetic surveys and chemical and biological analyses to study the role of groundwater discharge into the Guadiana Estuary. Ecohydrology 7:291–300, doi: 10.1002/eco.1345
  • Hugman, R.T., Stigter, T.Y., Monteiro, J.P., 2013. The importance of temporal scale when determining sustainable yields in semi-arid regions. Journal of Hydrology 490:1 10, doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.02.053
  • Andrade, A.I.A.S.S., Stigter, T.Y., 2013. The distribution of arsenic in shallow alluvial groundwater under agricultural land in central Portugal: insights from multivariate geostatistical modeling. Science of the Total Environment 449:37–51, doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.01.033
  • Ribeiro, L., Stigter, T.Y., Chambel, A., Condesso de Melo, M.T., Monteiro, J. P., Medeiros, A. (Eds), 2013. Groundwater and Ecosystems, IAH Selected Papers on Hydrogeology, CRC Press/Balkema, Leiden, the Netherlands, 358 pp.
  • Stigter, T.Y., Carvalho Dill, A., Malta, E.-j., Santos, R., 2013. Nutrient sources for green macroalgae in the Ria Formosa lagoon – assessing the role of groundwater. Chapter in: Ribeiro, L., Stigter, T.Y., Chambel, A., Condesso de Melo, M.T., Monteiro, J. P., Medeiros, A. (Eds) Groundwater and Ecosystems, IAH Selected Papers on Hydrogeology, CRC Press/Balkema, Leiden, the Netherlands, 358 pp, doi: 10.1201/b15003-14
  • El Himer, H., Fakir, Y., Stigter, T.Y., Lepage, M., El Mandour, A., Ribeiro, L., 2013. Assessment of groundwater vulnerability to pollution of a wetland watershed. The case study of the Oualidia-Sidi Moussa wetland, Morocco. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 16:205-215, doi: 10.1080/14634988.2013.788427
  • Stigter, T.Y., 2012. Restoration of groundwater quality to sustain coastal ecosystems productivity. In: Wolanski E., McLusky D.S. (Eds) Treatise on Estuarine and Coastal Science, 10: 245-262. Waltham: Academic Press. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-374711-2.01013-5
  • Salvador, N., Monteiro, J.P., Hugman, R., Stigter, T., Reis, E., 2012. Contribution of stream recharge to the water balance of the Querenca-Silves aquifer system. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 12:3217–3227. doi: 10.5194/nhess-12-3217-2012
  • Mendes, M.P., Ribeiro, L., Nascimento J., Condesso de Melo T., Stigter, T.Y., Buxo, A., 2012. A groundwater perspective on river basin management plan, for central region of Portugal - Development of a methodology to assess the N fertilizers potential impact to groundwater bodies. Water Science and Technology 66:2162-2169. doi:10.2166/wst.2012.427
  • Hugman, R.T., Stigter, T.Y., Monteiro, J.P., Nunes, L.M., 2012. Influence of aquifer properties and the spatial and temporal distribution of recharge and abstraction on sustainable yields in semi-arid regions. Hydrological Processes 26:2791-2801. doi:10.1002/hyp.8353
  • Silva, A.C.F., Tavares, P., Shapouri, M., Stigter, T.Y., Monteiro, J.P., Machado, M., Cancela da Fonseca, L., Ribeiro, L., 2012. Estuarine biodiversity as an indicator of groundwater discharge. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 97:38 43. doi:10.1016/j.ecss.2011.11.006
  • Stigter, T., Monteiro, J.P., Nunes, L., Ribeiro, L., Hugman, R., 2012. Regional spatial-temporal assessment of groundwater exploitation sustainability in the south of Portugal. Chapter in: Zuber, A., Maloszewski, P., Witczak, S., Malina, G. (Eds) Selected papers on Hydrogeology 17 - Groundwater Quality Sustainability, Chapter 13, pp. Taylor & Francis
  • Stigter, T.Y., Carvalho Dill, A.M.M., Ribeiro, L., 2011. Major issues regarding the efficiency of monitoring programs for nitrate contaminated groundwater. Environmental Science & Technology 45(20): 8674 8682. doi:10.1021/es201798g
  • Andrade, A.I.A.S.S., Stigter, T.Y., 2011. Hydrogeochemical controls in shallow alluvial groundwater under agricultural land: case study in central Portugal. Environmental Earth Sciences 63: 809-825, doi:10.1007/s12665-010-0752-7
  • Vieira, J., Cunha, M.C., Nunes, L., Monteiro, J.P., Ribeiro, L., Stigter, T., Nascimento, J., Lucas, H., 2011. Optimization of the Operation of Large-Scale Multisource Water Supply Systems, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management ASCE 137:150-161, doi:10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000102
  • Nunes, L.M., Zhu, Y-G., Stigter, T.Y., Monteiro, J.P., Teixeira, M.R., 2011. Environmental impacts on soil and groundwater at airports: origin, contaminants of concern and environmental risks. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 13:3026-3039 doi:10.1039/C1EM10458F
  • Andrade, A.I.A.S.S., Stigter, T.Y., 2009. Multi-method assessment of nitrate and pesticide contamination in shallow alluvial groundwater as a function of hydrogeological setting and land use. Agricultural Water Management 96: 1751-1765, doi:10.1016/j.agwat.2009.07.014
  • Stigter, T.Y., Monteiro, J.P., Nunes, L.M., Vieira, J., Cunha, M.C., Ribeiro, L., Nascimento, J., Lucas, H., 2009. Screening of sustainable groundwater sources for integration into a regional drought-prone water supply system. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 13: 1-15, doi:10.5194/hess-13-1185-2009
  • Stigter, T.Y., Ribeiro, L., Carvalho Dill, A.M.M., 2008. Building factorial regression models to explain and predict nitrate concentrations in groundwater under agricultural land. Journal of Hydrology 357: 42-56, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2008.05.009
  • Stigter, T.Y., Carvalho Dill, A.M.M., Ribeiro, L., Reis, E., 2006. Impact of the shift from groundwater to surface water irrigation on aquifer dynamics and hydrochemistry in a semi-arid region in the south of Portugal. Agricultural Water Management 85(1-2): 121-132, doi:10.1016/j.agwat.2006.04.004
  • Stigter, T.Y., Ribeiro, L., Carvalho Dill, A.M.M., 2006. Application of a groundwater quality index as an assessment and communication tool in agro-environmental policies - two Portuguese case studies. Journal of Hydrology 327(3-4): 578-591, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2005.12.001
  • Stigter, T.Y., Ribeiro, L., Carvalho Dill, A.M.M., 2006. Evaluation of an intrinsic and a specific vulnerability assessment method in comparison with groundwater salinisation and nitrate contamination levels in two agricultural regions in the south of Portugal. Hydrogeology Journal 14(1-2): 79-99, doi:10.1007/s10040-004-0396-3
  • Stigter, T.Y., van Ooijen, S.P.J., Post, V.E.A., Appelo, C.A.J., Carvalho Dill, A.M.M., 1998. A hydrogeological and hydrochemical explanation of the groundwater composition under irrigated land in a Mediterranean environment, Algarve, Portugal. Journal of Hydrology 208: 262-279, doi:10.1016/S0022-1694(98)00168-1