Dr Biniam Ashagre


Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

School:Engineering and the Built Environment

Location: Chelmsford

Biniam has a strong background in water and urban wastewater systems management with the primary strengths in system wastewater systems optimisation, catchment-based hydrological modelling, water quality modelling, sustainable drainage systems, and ecosystem services.


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Biniam's research work has given him international experience, including in the USA, UK, Brazil, India, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. He has a proven track record in teamwork on applied research and multi-disciplinary projects with various stakeholders.

Biniam joined ARU in 2018, and his research here focusses on on the development of frameworks for creating a resilient urban water system in emerging economy countries. He has over ten years’ experience in conducting applied multidisciplinary research projects, and teaching in higher education.

His EngD project focused on automation and control of European urban wastewater systems, and formulation of new regulatory approaches to improve the quality of the water environment in a cost-effective manner while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Biniam worked at Cranfield University as a Research Associate where he developed an integrated catchment-based model to value the regulating services from wooden habitats in the Eastern Arc Mountains Tanzania. His research showed that conserving upstream forest areas can save millions for downstream major cities. In this multi-disciplinary project Biniam collaborated with various experts; economists, conservation scientists, urban planners, policy makers and forestry scientists.

Spoken Languages



Research interests

  • Resilient and sustainable urban water and wastewater systems
  • Automation, instrumentation, and control of water resource recovery systems
  • Integrated real-time control of urban wastewater collections and treatments
  • River water quality management
  • Integrated catchment management
  • Valuation of ecosystem services
  • Sustainable drainage systems and their role in creating resilient cities

Areas of research supervision

Biniam specialises in urban wastewater systems management, including sustainable and resilient urban drainage systems, automation and control of wastewater plants, and optimisation of these systems through cost, carbon, and river quality interactions. Previous research work includes:

  • Automation and real-time control of urban wastewater systems and their role in the move towards sustainability
  • The use of integrated approach in managing the water environment, in the case of the UK
  • Sustainable drainage systems and their role in creating resilient urban areas
  • Valuing ecosystem services – the value of natural forests and the impact of land-use change on the water environment
  • Analysis of runoff and sedimentation at small and large catchments to inform decision and develop management options


Biniam teaches on project-based modules such as Civil Engineering Projects 1, that use a practical multi-disciplinary approach to develop fundamental skills in project planning, feasibility study, and preliminary design involving relevant stakeholders. Other modules he teaches include Highway Design and Construction, Engineering Mathematics, and Geotechnics.


  • EngD in Water Engineering, University of Exeter, UK
  • MSc in Hydrology and Catchment Management, Cornell Univestiy, USA
  • Bachelors degree (BSc) in Civil Engineering, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Associate Editor, AQUA
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)
  • Member of Institute of Civil Engineers (MICE)
  • Member of the British Hydrologic Society (BHS)
  • Member of the International Water Association (IWA)
  • Member of Institute of Water IoW)
  • Member of the scientific committee for the 12th IWA Specialised Conference on Instrumentation, Control and Automation, Quebec, Canada, 2017

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded Engineering Doctorate (EngD) degree in Water Engineering at the University of Exeter.

Selected recent publications

Ashagre, B. B., Fu, G., Butler, D., 2020. Automation and real-time control of urban wastewater systems: a review of the move towards sustainability. Aqua, 69(8), pp. 751–768. doi: 10.2166/aqua.2020.074

McClymont, K., Ashagre, B., Fernandes Cunha, D. G., Maidment, C., Vasconcelos, A. F., Batalini de Macedo, M., et al., 2020. Towards urban resilience through Sustainable Drainage Systems: A multi-objective optimisation problem. Journal of Environmental Management, 275, p. 111173. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2020.111173

Ashagre, B. B., 2018. Integrated Active Control Strategies and Licensing Approaches for Urban Wastewater Systems. Engineering Doctorate Dissertation, University of Exeter, UK.

Ashagre, B. B., Platts, P. J., Njana, B., Burgess, N. D., Balmford A., Turner, K., Schaafsma M., 2018. Integrated modelling for economic valuation of forest and woodland ecosystems in the provision of drinking water to a major African city. Ecosystem Services, 32, Part A, pp. 50-61, ISSN 2212-0416.

Easton, Z. M., Fuka, D. R., White, E. D., Collick, A. S., Ashagre, B. B., McCartney, M., Awulachew, S. B., Ahmed, A. A., Steenhuis, T.S., 2010. A multi-basin SWAT model analysis of runoff and sedimentation in the Blue Nile, Ethiopia. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 14(10), pp. 1827-1841.

Collick, A. S., Easton, Z. M., Ashagrie, T., Ashagre, B. B., Tilahun, S., Adgo, E., Awulachew, S. B., Zeleke, G., Steenhuis, T.S., 2009. A simple semi‐distributed water balance model for the Ethiopian highlands. Hydrological Processes, 23(26), pp. 3718-3727.

Ashagre, B. B., 2009. Using SWAT to Identify Watershed Management options: Anjeni Watershed, Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia. MPS thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.