McMillan Hydrology Lab

Hilary McMillan is Professor of Water Resources in the Geography Department at San Diego State University.

Hilary and her students study hydrology and water resources in a range of landscapes from pristine mountain headwaters to highly modified urban catchments. She focuses on the value of many types of hydrologic data to improve understanding of hydrologic processes and build accurate quantitative models to predict river flow, soil moisture, groundwater recharge and other quantities.

Hilary has previously worked in the UK and New Zealand and continues many collaborative projects with scientists around the world, from flood forecasting in New Zealand to tracking soil moisture patterns with scientists in France. From 2015-2017, Hilary was Chair of the IAHS hydrological decade 2013-2022 with the theme `Panta Rhei: Change in Hydrology and Society’.

For more details see Hilary’s CV and Google Scholar profile

Hydrology Lab research integrates fieldwork and computer modeling to understand how water travels through catchments; from a raindrop hitting the ground, through soils, groundwater and rivers.

Graduate and undergraduate students are welcome to join the Hydrology Lab, working on topics including field hydrology, environmental isotopes, hydrologic modeling and remote sensing.

The Hydrology Lab is located in the Department of Geography at San Diego State University, and is part of the SDSU Watershed Science Institute and SDSU Blue Gold Area of Excellence.


  • Ph.D. 2005

    Ph.D. in Hydrology

    University of Cambridge, UK

  • MRes 2002

    MRes Science of the Environment

    University of Lancaster, UK

  • MA 1999

    MA Mathematics

    University of Cambridge, UK


  • Present2022

    Professor of Water Resources

    San Diego State University, CA

  • 20222016

    Associate Professor of Water Resources

    San Diego State University, CA

  • 20072016

    Hydrological Scientist

    National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), NZ

  • 20072006

    Marsden Postdoctoral Fellow

    Massey University, NZ

Featured Publications

Linking hydrologic signatures to hydrologic processes: A review

Journal Paper
H. McMillan
McMillan, H. Linking hydrologic signatures to hydrologic processes: A review. Hydrological Processes. 2020; 34: 1393– 1409
Publication year: 2020

Panta Rhei 2013–2015: global perspectives on hydrology, society and change.

Journal Paper
McMillan, H., Montanari, A., Cudennec, C., Savenije, H., Kreibich, H., Krueger, T., Liu, J., Mejia, A., Van Loon, A., Aksoy, H., Di Baldassarre, G.
Hydrological Sciences Journal, 61(7), Pages 1174-1191.
Publication year: 2016

Validation of a national hydrological model

Journal Paper
McMillan, H., Booker, D.J., Cattoën, C
Journal of Hydrology, Volume 541, Part B, Pages 800–815
Publication year: 2016

I investigate how large-scale watershed dynamics arise from the complex interactions of water with soils, plants, people and landscape