Personal data

Name: Maria da Conceição Morais de Oliveira Cunha

Full Professor - Hydraulic, Water Resources and Environment

Address:   DEC- Polo II da Universidade de Coimbra, Pinhal de Marrocos, 3030-290 Coimbra, Portugal

Telephone: +351239797175; Fax: +351239797156; Email:;  Office: SH5.1



  •       Diploma in Civil Engineering, University of Coimbra (Portugal).
  •      MSc in Hydraulics and Water Resources, Technical University of Lisbon.
  • PhD in Natural Applied Sciences, branch Water Science, University of Louvain (Belgium).
  • “Aggregation” in Civil Engineering, University of Coimbra.



  •      Full Professor, Civil Engineering Department, University of Coimbra, lecturing courses in Water Resources Planning and Management, Introduction to Environmental Engineering, and, at post-graduate level, Hydraulics of Groundwater and Hydrosystems Analysis.

  • Coordinator of the PhD program in Environment Engineering (2010-2019)

  • Vice-Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra (2008-2009)

  • Associate Dean (2009-2011).

  • Elected member of the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology of the University of Coimbra (2009-2021).

  • Coordinator of the research line “HyWaRe -Hydraukics and Water Resources”, Mare (Research Center). (2012-2018)

  • Appointed as “Distinguished Visiting Fellow” by the Royal Academy of UK to work with the University of Exeter, Imperial College and University of Exeter (May 2017)

  • Visiting Professor at La Sapienza Università di Roma (April 2018).

  • Visiting fellow in the Princeton University (USA) in the Civil Engineering and Operations Research Department (during six months in 1998).

  • Invited Lecturer at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne for the Master of Advanced Studies in Hydraulic Engineering teaching Water Resources Planning (2004, 2006, 2008).

  • Selected by the Water Distribution System Analysis (WDSA) Committee (EWRI-ASCE) to be interviewed as an engineer and researcher who have made significant contributions to the field of water distribution system analysis- 2015

  • President of the Environmental Council of the  Navigator Company (former PORTUCEL-SOPORCEL - paper industry) (2021-).

  •  Appointed by the Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning as member “expert” of the National Water Council (2010-)

  •      Consultant of the Administration of the Hydrographic Central Region (ARH) for Watershed Master Plans (2009-2012). 

  • Member of Council of the Administration of the Hydrographic Central Region representing the CRUP - Council of Rectors of the Portuguese Universities (2015-)
  •      President of the Portuguese Water Resources Association (2014-2016)

  • Member of the Environmental Council of the  Navigator Company (former PORTUCEL-SOPORCEL - paper industry) (2008-).

  • Member of the task force “Doctoral Studies and Research” of the Coimbra Group of European Universities (representing the University of Coimbra) (2009-2013).

  • Member of the Strategic Council of the Portuguese Water Partnership (2013-)

  • Member of the Forum for Sustainability promoted by the Navigator Company (2015-)

  • National Delegate to COST Actions Management Committee: C19-Proactive Crisis Management of Urban Infrastructure. (2005-2008) and TU0902-Integrated Assessment Technologies to Support the Sustainable Development of Urban Areas, (2009 -2012).


Main research areas

Hydrosystems analysis, Reservoir and aquifer planning and management, Water and wastewater design optimization, Robust optimization, Flexibility design of water infrastructures


Some Publications


Cunha, M.C., Nunes, L., Groundwater Characterization, Management & Monitoring, WIT press, 277p., 2011. ISBN: 978-1-84564-134-4

Papers in International Journals (2013-)

  • Nunes, L. M., Cunha, M. C., Ribeiro, L., "Coverage Methods for Early Groundwater Contamination Detection", Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 90(5), pp. 531-536, 2013 doi: 10.1007/s00128-013-0971-1.
  • Chebbi, A., Bargaoui, Z.K., Cunha, M.C., “Development of a method of robust rain gauge network optimization based on intensity-duration-frequency results”, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17 (10), pp. 4259-4268, 2013
  • Costa, A.L., Cunha, M.C., Coelho, P., Einstein, H., “Solving High-Speed Rail Planning with the Simulated Annealing Algorithm”, Journal of Transportation Engineering (ASCE), 139(6), pp. 635–642, 2013. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)TE.1943-5436.0000542
  • Zeferino, J., Antunes, A.P., Cunha, M.C., “Regional wastewater systems design under population dynamics uncertainty”, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management (ASCE), 140 (39),  pp. 322-331, 2014.
  • Pinto, R., Cunha, M.C., Roseta-Palma, C., Marques, J.C., “ Mainstreaming  Sustainable Decision-Making for ecosystems: Integrated  Ecological and Socio-economic Targets within a Decision Support System”, Environmental Process, 1, pp 7-19, 2014 DOI 10.1007/s40710-014-0006-x
  • Maier H.R., Kapelan Z., Kasprzyk J., Kollat J., Matott L.S., Cunha M.C., Dandy G.C., Gibbs M.S., Keedwell E., Marchi A., Ostfeld A., Savic D., Solomatine D.P., Vrugt J.A., Zecchin A.C., Minsker B.S., Barbour E.J., Kuczera G., Pasha F., Castelletti A., Giuliani M. and Reed P.M., “Evolutionary algorithms and other metaheuristics in water resources: Current status, research challenges and future directions”, Environmental Modelling and Software, 62,  pp. 271-299, 2014. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2014.09.013.
  • Zeferino, J., Cunha, M.C., Antunes, A.P., “Planning regional wastewater systems across borders”, Water Resources and Economics, 8, pp. 4–15, November 2014
  • Marques, J. C. R., Cunha, M. C., Savic, D., “Multi-objective Optimization of Water Distribution Systems Based on a Real Options Approach”, Journal Environmental Modelling & Software, 63, pp. 1-13, 2015.
  • Marques, J. C. R.,  Cunha, M. C., Savic, D., “Using Real Options for an Eco-friendly Design of Water Distribution Systems”, Journal of Hydroinformatics, 17(1), pp. 20-35, 2015.
  • Marques, J. C. R.;  Cunha, M. C.; Savic, D., "Using Real Options in the Optimal Design of Water Distribution Networks". Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 141 (5), 04014052, 2015 doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000448
  • Vertommen, I., Magini, R., Cunha, M.C., "Scaling Water Consumption Statistics", Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 141 (5), 04014072, 2015.
  • Roebeling, P. C., Cunha, M.C., Arroja, L., van Grieken, M.E.,"Abatement vs. treatment for efficient diffuse source water pollution management in terrestrial-marine systems", Water Science and Technology, 72(5), pp. 730-737, 2015
  • Marques, J.; Cunha, M.; Savic, D. "A multicriteria approach for a phased design of water distribution networks". Procedia Engineering, 119, pp. 1231-1240, 2015. DOI:10.1016/j.proeng.2015.08.983
  • Costa, A., Cunha, M., Coelho, P., and Einstein, H. "Decision Support Systems for Real-World High-Speed Rail Planning." Journal of Transportation Engineering, 142(5), 04016015, 2016.
  • Vieira, J., Cunha, M.C., "Systemic approach for the capacity expansion of multisource water-supply systems under uncertainty", Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, ASCE (10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000668 , 04016034, 142(10), 2016.
  • Cunha, M.C., Zeferino, J.A., Simões, N. E., Saldarriaga, J.G., "Optimal location and sizing of storage units in a drainage system", Environmental Modelling & Software, 83, pp. 155-166, 2016.
  • Cunha, M.C.,  Zeferino, J.A.,  Simões, N.E.,  Santos, G.L.,  J Saldarriga, J.G., "A decision support model for the optimal siting and sizing of storage units in stormwater drainage systems", International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning, 12(1), pp. 122-132, 2017. ISSN: 1743-7601 (paper format), ISSN: 1743-761X (online),, DOI: 10.2495/SDP-V12-N1-122-132
  • Marques, J., Cunha, M, Savic, D. "Water Network Design Using a Multiobjective Real Options Framework," Journal of Optimization, vol. 2017, Article ID 4373952, 13 pages, 2017. doi:10.1155/2017/4373952.
  • Vieira, J., Cunha, M.C. Cunha, "Closure to "Systemic Approach for the Capacity Expansion of Multisource Water-Supply Systems under Uncertainty", Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 143(9), Article number 07017003, 2017 WOS:000408564100016.
  • Vieira, J., Cunha, M.C., "Nested Optimization Approach for the Capacity Expansion of Multiquality Water Supply Systems under Uncertainty", Water Resources Management, 31(4), pp 1381-1395, 2017  doi:10.1007/s11269-017-1584-y
  • Zeferino, J. A.; Cunha, M. C.; Antunes, A. P., "Adapted optimization model for planning regional wastewater systems: case study", Water Science and Technology, 76(5), pp.1196-1205, 2017. DOI: 10.2166/wst.2017.302 DOI: 10.2166/wst.2017.302
  • Marques, J., Cunha, M., Savi?, D., "Ranking alternatives for the flexible phased design of water distribution networks". Procedia Engineering, 186, 567-575, 2017.
  • Chebbi , A., Bargaoui , Z.K., Abid, N., Cunha, M. C., "Optimization of a hydrometric network extension using specific flow, kriging and simulated annealing" Journal of Hydrology, 555, pp. 971-982, 2017.
  • Costa, A.L., Cunha, M.C., Coelho, P.A.L.F., Einstein, H.H.,  "Planning for Natural Hazards: a Robust Approach for High-Speed Rail Infrastructure", Natural Hazards Review, 19(1): 04017025, 2018, ASCE, ISSN 1527-6988. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)NH.1527-6996.0000277
  • Marques, J., Cunha, M., and Savić, D., “Many-objective optimization model for the flexible design of water distribution networks.” Journal of Environmental Management, 226, 308–319, 2018.
  • Vieira, J., Cunha, M. C.; Luis, R., “Integrated Assessment of Water Reservoir Systems Performance with the Implementation of Ecological Flows under Varying Climatic Conditions”, Water Resources Management, 32 (15), 2018   Special Issue: SI, 5183-5205  
  • ·Cunha, M., Marques, J., Creaco, E., & Savic, DA “Dynamic Adaptive Approach for Water Distribution Network Design” Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 145(7), 04019026, (2019)
  • Creaco, E., Cunha, M., Franchini, M., “Using heuristic techniques to account for engineering aspects in a modularity-based WDN partitioning algorithm”. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management – ASCE, 2019, 145(12): 04019062
  • Marques, J., Cunha, M.,  “Upgrading water distribution networks to work under uncertain conditions”. Water Supply, 20(3), 878-888, 2020. DOI:
  •  Maydana, G., Romagnoli, M., Cunha, M., Portapila,M., “Integrated valuation of alternative land use scenarios in the agricultural ecosystem of a watershed with limited available data, in the Pampas region of Argentina”, Science of the Total Environment, 714, 2020 (136430).
  • ·Cunha, M., Marques, J., “A new multiobjective simulated annealing algorithm - MOSA-GR: application to the optimal design of water distribution networks”, Water Resources Research, Article ID: wrcr24505, 2020,
  • Cunha, M. ,Marques, J.,Savić, D., “A flexible approach for the reinforcement of water networks using multi-criteria decision analysis”, Water Resources Management,  34 (14), 4469-4490, 2020.
  • Saldarriaga,J., Salcedo, C.,  Solarte, L., Pulgarín, L., Rivera, M.L., Camacho, M., Iglesias-Rey, P. L., Martínez-Solano, F.J.,  Cunha, M.,  “Reducing Flood Risk in Changing Environments: Optimal Location and Sizing of Stormwater Tanks Considering Climate Change” Water 2020, 12, 2491.
  • Fuso, F., Cunha, M. C.,  Becciu, G., “Functional Feasibility in Optimal Evaluation of Water Distribution Network Performances”. Water, 12, 3404, 2020.
  • Cunha, M., Marques, J., Azevedo, J.; Castilho, A., “Understanding the Impact of a Major Hydro-Agricultural Project in Low Mondego Area (Portugal)”. Land,10(2), 114, 2021. Q2
  • Vertommen, I., Van Laarhoven, K,  Cunha. MC., “Robust Design of a Real-Life Water Distribution Network under Different Demand Scenarios”. Water 2021, 13(6), 753, 2021. Q2
  • Zechman Berglund, E., Thelemaque,N., Spearing, L, Faust, K.M.,  Kaminsky, J., Sela, L., Goharian, E., Abokifa, A., Lee, J., Jonathan Keck, J., Giacomoni, M., Van Zyl, J.E., Harkness, B., Yang, Y. C. E., Cunha, M., Ostfeld, A., Kadinski, L., “Water and Wastewater Systems and Utilities: Challenges and Opportunities during the COVID-19 Pandemic”, Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 147 (5), 02521001, 2021.
  • Frantzi, S., Brouwer, R., Watkins, E., Van Beukering, P., Cunha, M.C., Dijkstra, H., Duijndam, S., Jaziri, H., Okoli, I.C., Pantzar, M., Rada Cotera, I., Rehdanz, K., Seidel, K., Triantaphyllidis, G., “Adoption and diffusion of marine litter clean-up technologies across European seas: Legal, institutional and financial drivers and barriers”, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 170, 112611, Elsevier, 2021. /10.1007/s11356-021-16725
  • Marques, J., Liu, J., Cunha, M. C., Van Meter, K. J., Basu, N. B., “Nitrogen legacies in anthropogenic landscapes: a case study in the Mondego Basin in Portugal”. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 29, 23919–23935 Springer, 2022.
  • Santos, M. R., Dias, L. C., Cunha, M. C., & Marques, J. (2022). Multicriteria Decision Analysis Addressing Marine and Terrestrial Plastic Waste Management: A Review. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8.
  • Basu, N.,  Van Meter, K.,  Byrnes, D., Van Cappellen, P., Brouwer, R.,  Jacobsen, B.H., Jarsjö, J., Rudolph, D., Cunha, M., Nelson, N.,  Bhattacharya, R., Destouni, G., Søren, O., “Managing Nitrogen Legacies to Accelerate Water Quality Improvement”, Nature Geosciences, 15, 97–105 (2022).
  • Cunha, M. C., Serpa, D., Marques, J., Keizer, J.J., Abrantes, N., " On sustainable improvements of agricultural practices in the Bairrada region (Portugal) ". Environment, Development and Sustainability, 2022.
  • Zechman Berglund, E., Buchberger, S., Cunha, M., Faust, K.M., Giacomoni, M.., Goharian, E., Kleiner, Y., Lee, J.,  Ostfeld, A., Pasha, F., Pesantez, J.E., Saldarriaga, J., Van Zyl, J.E., " Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Water Utility Operations and Vulnerability " Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management 148 (6), 2022,DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0001560
  • Cunha, M. C., Marques, J., Dias, L. C., Cotera, I. R., & Triantaphyllidis, G. (2022). A Delphi based approach to the assessment of new marine litter reduction and processing technologies. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9.
  • Dias, L. C. Cunha, M.C., Watkins, E., Triantaphyllidis, G., A multi-criteria assessment of policies to achieve the objectives of the EU marine litter strategy,  Marine Pollution Bulletin, 180, July 2022, 113803.
  • Cunha, M., C. (2023). Water and Environmental Systems Management Under Uncertainty: From Scenario Construction to Robust Solutions and Adaptation. Water Resources Management (SI: Adaptive Management).

Book Chapters (invited)

  • Costa, A. L., Cunha, M. C., Coelho, P. A. L. F., and Einstein, H. H.  in “Metaheuristics and Optimization in Civil Engineering.”, Edited by Xin-She Yang, Gebrail Bekdaş, Sinan Melih Nigdeli, Springer International Publishing, pp. 235–253. 2016 doi:10.1007/978-3-319-26245-1_11. Print ISBN :978-3-319-26243-7. Online ISBN: 978-3-319-26245-1


Research Projects (2013-)  

  • Investigator Coordinator of IMAR-CMA participation in the project “Iberian Trans-boundary Water Management (IB-TWM): experiences from the past and approaches for the future”, (financed by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia), 2010-2013.
  • Investigator Coordinator of the Portuguese participation in the research project “ESAWADI- Utilizing the Ecosystem Services Approach for Water Framework Directive Implementation”, (financed by the EU in the scope of the IWRM-NET), 2010-2013.
  • Investigator Coordinator of IMAR-CMA participation in the project DESAFIO - Democratisation of Water and Sanitation Governance by Means of Socio-Technical Innovation” Financed by the EU -"Collaborative Project  for specific cooperation action dedicated to international cooperation, 2013 - 2015.
  • Investigator of the team of the research project  of CENOR Consultores, S.A. (ACIV subcontract) for  projecto "All-Hazard Guide for Transport Infrastructure-AllTraIn", financed by EU, (HOME/2012/CIPS/AG/4000003748), 2013-2015.
  • Investigator in the Project "Drenaje Urbano y Cambio climático: Hacia los sistemas de Alcantarillado del Futuro", financed by “Programa Nacional de Desarrollo Tecnlógico Industrial y Calidad”, Colombia, 2013-2016.
  • Investigator Coordinator of the participation of the University of Coimbra in the project "Legacies of Agricultural Pollutants (LEAP): Integrated Assessment of Biophysical and Socioeconomic Controls on Water Quality in Agroecosystems (WaterJPI/005/2015)"- financed by EU. Started April 1th, 2017 (duration 3 years). Horizon 2020.
  • Investigator Coordinator of the participation of the University of Coimbra in the project " Cleaning Litter by developing and Applying Innovative Methods in european Seas (CLAIM), Grant Agreement No. : 774586, Started November1th. 2017 (duration 4 years). Horizon 2020.
A sua fotografia
QrCode mccunha
QR Code ?