Professor Cecilia Tortajada

  • Professor in Practice - Environmental Innovation (Interdisciplinary Studies)


Professor in practice, School of Interdisciplinary Studies. With a Bachelor of Science degree on biology at the National Autonomous University of Mexico; and masters' degrees on agricultural sciences at Colegio de Postgraduados, Mexico and Kagawa University, Japan; water resources management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden; and law and public policy, University of Zaragoza, Spain. Double doctorate on philosophy and technology, at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden. 

Research interests

Over 25 years of experience on water, environment and natural resources management, agricultural development and capacity building. Working at present on complexity of water, environment and natural resources policy and management; inter-linkages of water, environment, food and energy security; impacts of global changes on water resources, environment and food.

Advisor for several international and national organisations and development agencies, governments and development banks such as UNDP, UNEP, FAO, Canada International Development Research Center (IDRC), World Bank, Asian Development Bank, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Inter-American Development Bank, Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation of Agriculture (IICA), InWEnt Capacity Building International (now GIZ); as well as for national and state governments in Spain (Aragon), Germany (Berlin), Brazil, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Gujarat (India), Mexico, Sri Lanka and Turkey. Competencies have extended to collaborations with the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations; Sasakawa Peace Foundation and Nippon Foundation, Japan; Majlis El-Hassan Foundation, Jordan; Singapore International Water Week; Stockholm International Water Institute, Stockholm; and multinational corporations like Nestle.


Selected invited lectures 2015–2021

  •  “Green water infrastructure in circular cities”, 2021 Joint American Water Resources Association (AWRA) and National Capital Annual Water Symposium, 15 April 2021

  •  "The role of government in the advocacy of water", Workshop for Water Ethics, 6th Interdisciplinary Colloquium, Association for Water Ethics (W4W), 18 May 2021

  • “Global water and food security”, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore, 25 February 2021 (webinar).
  • “Artificial intelligence in global water resources”, International Conference on Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Zululand and Chang’an University, 1 February 2021 (webinar).

  • “Water management under drought events”, Three Gorges University, Yichang, Hubei province, China, 1 February 2021 (webinar).

  • “Addressing water scarcity”, National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE), Project Drawdown, 5 January, 2021 (webinar).
  • “Water policy innovations—the role of academia and policy makers”, Water and Society: Communication, Decision Support, and Stakeholder Engagement to Improve Policy and Management in an Uncertain World, AGU Fall Meeting, December 14, 2020 (webinar).
  • “Efficient utilization of water resources: The case of Singapore”, 2020 Silk Road International Conference, Xi'an University of Technology, Xi’an, China, December 11, 2020 (webinar).
  • “Artificial Intelligence for Water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Policy Implications”, Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy Use of Earth Observations, Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in Water Management, University of California, US, December 2, 2020 (webinar). 
  • “Resettlement: What have we learnt?", Strategies for Future Progress, HYDRO 2020, 26-28 October 2020 (webinar).
  • “Climate change and national security”, APWF Webinar series toward the 4th Asian Pacific Water Forum, Tokyo, September 23, 2020 (webinar).
  •  “Reused water for potable purposes”, XXII Congress on Law and Water Resources Management, Centro de Derecho y Gestión de Aguas, Pontifica Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile, August 6, 2020.
  • “A water future for cities”, Exploring how global cities are preparing for water security, UNESCO-India and National Institute of Urban Affairs, Delhi, India, July 15, 2020.
  •  “The role of the Catholic Church in the global environmental movements”, Forum from the Right to Water to the Right to Hope”, Instituto para el Diálogo Global y la Cultura del Encuentro, Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo Integral de Altos Estudios, Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 18, 2020.
  • “Water reuse and the circular economy”, International Water Resources Association, Paris, June 17, 2020.
  •  “Water security”, Impact of C-19 on water and climate, American University of Beirut, Lebanon, May 7, 2020.
  • “NEWater: A leading example in managing wastewater in an urban context”, Responsible Business Forum, Singapore, November 19, 2019.
  •  “Sustainability reporting by companies listed in SGX”, IWP Research Seminar, LKYSPP, University of Singapore, Singapore, November 18, 2019.
  • “Water governance within a global framework”, Fortune Global Sustainability Forum, Center for China's Neighbour Diplomacy Studies, Yunnan, China, September 5, 2019.
  •  “Water, food and energy security: A holistic view,” World Engineers Summit (WES), The Institution of Engineers, Singapore, Singapore, August 28, 2019.
  • “Influencing Policy Internationally”, Hydro Nation: Research Needs for the Next Decade Conference, University of Glasgow, Scottish Government, November 27, 2018.
  •  “Future global water, food and Energy Risks”, Forum on Water Governance & Technological Innovation, IWHR, Beijing, October 18, 2018.
  • “Singapore: water resources and global food trade”, Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR), Beijing, October 15, 2018.
  •  “Water and wastewater management in the context of South-East Asia”, Global Initiative of Academic Networks, Kharagpur, India, 30 April 2018.
  • ““Hydropower as a catalyst for regional cooperation: The case of India and Bhutan”, Hydropower-based Collaboration in South Asia: Socio-economic Development and Electricity Trade, Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal on 21-22 November, 2017.
  •  “Policy responses for extreme events, the California drought”, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, October 20, 2017.
  • “Food wecurity in Singapore”, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, October 20, 2017.
  •  “Hydropolitics of Aswan High Dam”, School of Environment and Natural Resources, Renmin University of China, Beijing, October 19, 2017.
  • “Global water policy and governance”, Commons Workshop: Enhancing Water Governance and Policy, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing, October 14, 2017.
  •  “Tackling water insecurity for sustainable development”, 2016 Pacific Energy Summit, Singapore, June 23, 2016.
  • “Water as a non-traditional security issue”, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 3 June 2016.
  •  Urban water management in Singapore: policy decisions, Tsinghua University, Beijing, June 2, 2016.
  • “Urban water, environment and development challenges”, Japan International Cooperation Agency and University of Tokyo, Tokyo, April 15, 2016.
  • “Politics of nongovernmental organizations and influence on global public policy”, Water Resources and Hydropower Development in Asia, Vientiane, March 3, 2016.
  • “Water Risks and Corporate Social Responsibility”, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, September 22, 2015.

Additional information

Professional recognition and awards

  • Winner of the Crystal Drop Award, International Water Resources Association.
  • 2016 and 2017 Research Excellence Awards, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.
  • Member of the International Selection Committee, Millennium Technology Prize, Technology Academy Finland.
  • Member of the OECD Initiative on Water Governance.
  • Biography appears in Science and Engineering Who’s Who, and Marquis International Who’s Who.
  • Honorary member of the International Water Resources Association.


Professional & learned societies

  • President, International Water Resources Association (IWRA), 2007-2009.
  • Member, International Association for the Study of the Commons, 2020 -
  • Member, WateReuse Association, 2017-2020.
  • Member, International Public Policy Association, 2017-2020.
  • Member, International Studies Association (ISA), 2016-2017.
  • Vice-President, IWRA, 2004-2006.
  • Director, IWRA, 2001-2003.
  • Chair, IWRA, Mexican National Committee, 1999-2003.
  • Vice-Chair, Committee on International Waters, IWRA, 1994-2000.
  • Vice-Chair, Committee on International Cooperation, International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA), 1995-1997.