Soni M. Pradhanang

  • Associate Professor
  • Department of Geosciences
  • Phone: 401.874. 5980
  • Email:
  • Office Location: Office: 315 Woodward Hall


My research focuses on development of decision support systems for management of water resources from field to the watershed and regional scale. The generation, transformation and transport of sediments and nutrients within the watershed in the context of land use and climate change are the major focus of my current research. I use combined approach of monitoring and modeling to understand water and nutrients movement in complex terrain, soils, land use, and with various watershed protection practices. I strongly believe that an interdisciplinary approach linking hydrology and biogeochemistry with environmental policy and social sciences is critical for all to develop a solid understanding of human-environment interactions in complex systems. In addition, my works also evaluate reliability, predictability and vulnerabilities of the water infrastructure such as reservoirs, dams and spillways in maintaining safe and clean water to the communities. My research evaluates management practices to develop guidelines to ensure the protection of the ecosystem that provides our water. Future research in this area will build and expand on identifying and quantifying processes controlling biogeochemical processes in the landscape, especially those most relevant to anticipated environmental changes associated with climate change. My international works involve climate change vulnerability assessment in water resources in South Asia. I focus primarily on water management issues.


  • Watershed Hydrology and Biogeochemistry
  • Hydrology and water quality Modeling
  • Fate and Transport of Nutrients and Emerging Contaminants
  • Climate Change impacts on watershed biogeochemistry
  • Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems(sUAS) and water quality tracking system
  • Reservoir Hydrodynamics
  • Surface Water Groundwater Interactions
  • Water Management in South Asia

Pradhanang Lab

  • The Rhode Island Water Resources Board (RIWRB) and University of Rhode Island (URI) Statewide Water Withdrawal Data Enhancement and Database Development Project. RIWRB-USGS
  • Mapping Bedrock and Saltwater Intrusion in Rhode Island, USGS
  • Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs): Treatment Optimization Protocol (TOP) Development, RI Department of Health
  • Advanced Understanding and Prediction of Pollutants in Critical Landscapes, Multistate Hatch S-1063  USDA
  • Developing decision making tools to maintain flow regimes and mitigate floods in forested watersheds, USDA NIFA McIntire Stennis
  • An Integrated Observational and Modeling Approach to Estimation of the Groundwater Contribution to the Water and Nutrient Budgets in Coastal Environments:  Case Studies from Narragansett Bay and Southern RI Coastal Lagoons, EPA
  • Providing a new perspective on groundwater hydrometry using thermal infrared sensor equipped unmanned aerial vehicle USGS- RIWRC
  • Innovative approaches to treating polluted water through floating wetland islands, Island Foundation
  • Saltwater Intrusion on Coastal Aquifers, RI HUD
  • Occurrence and Formation of N-DBPs in source waters of Rhode Island, USGS, RIWRC
  • Disinfectant byproducts (THMs and HAAs) and their formation potentials in drinking water- Application of UVC-LED system, USGS, RIWRC
  • Scituate Reservoir Mitigation Model: Safe Yield Analysis, Disaster Recovery Grant
  • Evaluate effectiveness of roadside best management practices on water quality. RI-DOT
  • Development and application of REMM model to evaluate landscape-based approach to optimize riparian zone nitrogen and phosphorus management in glaciated settings. USDA NIFA
  • Adaptation for climate change by livestock smallholders in Gandaki Basin, Nepal. USAID
  • Co-PI for NSF EPSCoR Track I and Track II grants.
  • Water quality modeling of agricultural, forested and urban watersheds of Rhode Island- Multistate Hatch S-1063  USDA


  • Post-Doc Research Associate, City University of New York and New York City Department of Environmental Protection, NY
  • Ph.D., Hydrology and Water Quality, 2010 State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY
  • M.ESc. Environmental Science: Forest Ecology and Management, 2003 Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • M.Sc. Environmental Science 1998 Bangalore University, Bangalore, India.
    B.Sc. Biology and Chemistry 1996 Tribhuvan University, Nepal

Selected Publications

Panthi+ J., Boving T.B., Pradhanang S.M., Russoniello C.J., Kang S., 20xx. The Contraction of Freshwater Lenses in Barrier Islands: A Combined Geophysical and Numerical Analysis. Submitted to J. Hydrology (Sept. 21, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Panthi, J., Talchabhadel, R., Ghimire, G.R., Sharma, S., Dahal, P., Baniya, R., Boving, T., Pradhanang, S.M. and Parajuli, B., 2021. Hydrologic Regionalization under Data Scarcity: Implications for Streamflow Prediction. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 26(9), p.05021022.

Tamanna, M., Pradhanang, S.M., Gold, A.J., Addy, K. and Vidon, P.G., 2021. Riparian Zone Nitrogen Management through the Development of the Riparian Ecosystem Management Model (REMM) in a Formerly Glaciated Watershed of the US Northeast. Agriculture, 11(8), p.743.

Jahan, K., Pradhanang, S.M. and Bhuiyan, M.A.E., 2021. Surface Runoff Responses to Suburban Growth: An Integration of Remote Sensing, GIS, and Curve Number. Land10(5), p.452.

Young, K.S. and Pradhanang, S.M., 2021. Small Unmanned Aircraft (sUAS)-Deployed Thermal Infrared (TIR) Imaging for Environmental Surveys with Implications in Submarine Groundwater Discharge (SGD): Methods, Challenges, and Novel Opportunities. Remote Sensing13(7), p.1331.

Jahan*, K. and Pradhanang, S.M., 2020. Predicting Runoff Chloride Concentrations in Suburban Watersheds Using an Artificial Neural Network (ANN). Hydrology7(4), p.80.

Tamanna*, M., Pradhanang, S.M., Gold, A.J., Addy, K., Vidon, P.G. and Bingner, R.L., 2020. Evaluation of AnnAGNPS Model for Runoff Simulation on Watersheds from Glaciated Landscape of USA Midwest and Northeast. Water12(12), p.3525.

Meadows, M.C., Pradhanang, S.M., Fujioka, T., Kodamatani, H., Leddy, M.B. and Boving, T.B., 2019. N-Nitrosodimethylamine Formation from Treatment of Seasonally and Spatially Varying Source Water. Water11(10).

Seybold, E., Gold, A.J., Inamdar, S.P., Adair, C., Bowden, W.B., Vaughan, M.C.H., Pradhanang, S. M., Addy, K., Shanley, J. B., Vermilyea, A., Levia, D. F., WEmple, B. C., and Schroth, A. W., 2019. Influence of land use and hydrologic variability on seasonal dissolved organic carbon and nitrate export. Biogeochemistry

Frazer, S., Gold, A., Addy, K., Moatar, F., Birgand, F., Schroth, A., Kellogg, D. Q., and Pradhanang, S. M., 2019. Contrasting Behavior of Nitrate and Phosphate Flux from High Flow Events on Small Agricultural and Urban Watersheds. Biogeochemistry .

Spellman. C.J., Vander Werff J. C., and Pradhanang, S. 2019. Examining the Use of SWAT Modeling for Assessment of Hydrologic Benefits Resulting from Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation. Reclamation Matters, American Society of Mining and Reclamation, Spring 2019

Hassanzadeh*, Y., Vidon, P., Gold, A., Pradhanang, S., and Addy, K., 2019, A New Approach to Generalizing Riparian Water and Air Quality Function Across Regions, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment , 19(5):282.

Hassanzadeh*, Y., Vidon, P., Gold, A., Pradhanang, S., and Addy, K., 2019. RZ-TRADEOFF: A New Model to Estimate Riparian Water and Air Quality Functions, Water, 11(4):769

Chambers*, B., Pradhanang, S.M. and Gold, A.J., 2018. Integrated Soil and Water Management: Selected Papers from 2016 International SWAT Conference (eds. Karim Abbaspour, Raghavan Srinivasan, Saeid Ashraf Vaghefi, Monireh Faramarzi and Lei Chen) ISBN 978-3-03842-815-2 (Pbk) ISBN 978-3-03842-816-9 (PDF)

Hasan*, M.A., Pradhanang, S.M., 2017. Estimation of Flow Regime for a Spatially Varied Himalayan Watershed using Improved Multi-Site Calibration of the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. Environmental Earth Sciences: 76(23): 787

Campbell* A., Pradhanang, S. M. Kouhi Anbaran, S, Sargent, J., Palmer, Z, and Audette, M. 2017. Assessing the impact of Urbanization on Flood Risk and Severity for the Pawtuxet Watershed, Rhode Island. Lake and Reservoir Management : 1-14

Chambers*, B., Pradhanang, S.M. and Gold, A.J., 2017. Assessing Thermally Stressful Events in a Rhode Island Coldwater Fish Habitat Using the SWAT Model. Water, 9(9), p.667. doi:10.3390/w9090667

Chambers*, B., Pradhanang, S.M. and Gold, A.J., 2017. Simulating Climate Change Induced Thermal Stress in Coldwater Fish Habitat Using SWAT Model. Water, 9(10), p.732. doi:10.3390/w9100732

Paul*, S., Cashman, M.A., Szura, K. and Pradhanang, S.M., 2017. Assessment of Nitrogen Inputs into Hunt River by Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems via SWAT Simulation. Water, 9(8), p.610. doi:10.3390/w9080610

Vaughan*, M.C.H., Bowden, W.B., Shanley, J.B., Vermilyea, A., Sleeper, R., Gold, A.J., Pradhanang, S., Inamdar, S.P., Levia, D.F., Andres, A.S. and Birgand, F., 2017. High‐frequency dissolved organic carbon and nitrate measurements reveal differences in storm hysteresis and loading in relation to land cover and seasonality. Water Resources Research 53, 53455363, doi:10.1002/2017WR020491.

Miao*, H., Fooks, J., Guilfoos, T., Messer, K., Pradhanang, S., Suter, J., Trandafir, S., and  Uchida, E., 2016 The impact of information on behavior under an ambient-based policy for regulating nonpoint source pollution. Water Resource Research 52, doi:10.1002/2015WR018142.

Jha, A.K.; Malla, R.; Sharma, M.; Panthi, J.; Lakhankar, T.; Krakauer, N.Y.; Pradhanang, S.M.; Dahal, P.; Shrestha, M.L. 2016 Impact of Irrigation Method on Water Use Efficiency and Productivity of Fodder Crops in Nepal. Climate 4, 4

Dahal, P., Shrestha, N. S., Panthi, J., Shrestha, M. L., Krakauer, N. Y., Pradhanang, S. M., Panthi, J., Jha, A.K., and Lakhankar, T. 2016. Drought Risk Assessment in Central Nepal: Temporal and Spatial Analysis. Natural Hazards,80(3): 1913-1932.

Book and Book Chapters

National Academies Report “Review of the New York City Watershed Protection Program”, 2021. National Research Council. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

Pradhanang, S. M. and Jahan*, K., 2021 Urban Water Security for Sustainable Cities in the Context of Climate Change. In Pandey et al. eds Water, Climate Change, and Sustainability, Wiley Publications.

Pradhanang, S.M., and Jahan*, K., 2021 Structural Best Management Practices and Watershed Management. In Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development: Clean Water and Sanitation.  Springer Publications

Pradhanang, S. M., and Tamanna*, M. 2020 Water Management: South Asia. In Wang, Y. ed., 2020. Fresh Water and Watersheds. CRC Press

Chambers*, B., Pradhanang, S.M. and Gold, A.J., 2018. Integrated Soil and Water Management: Selected Papers from 2016 International SWAT Conference (eds. Karim Abbaspour, Raghavan Srinivasan, Saeid Ashraf Vaghefi, Monireh Faramarzi and Lei Chen) ISBN 978-3-03842-815-2 (Pbk) ISBN 978-3-03842-816-9 (PDF)

Pradhanang, S.M., 2017. Water‐Energy‐Food Nexus: Examples from the USA. Water-Energy-Food Nexus: Principles and Practices, 229, p.141.

Pradhanang, S.M. and Samal, N.H. 2014 Transboundary River Systems in Context of Climate Change, In: Climate Change and Water Resources Eds. Shrestha et al., CRC Press. ISBN 978-1-4665-9466-1 pg: 291-230.

Pradhanang, S.M., Shrestha, S.D., and Steenhuis, T. 2012. A comprehensive review of groundwater research in the Kathmandu Valley. In Groundwater in Kathmandu Valley: Challenges and Opportunities. Publishers: AIT/SEN/CREEW/ICRE-UY. (Peer reviewed)


    • Introduction to Water Resources (GEO/NRS/EEC 234G; GenEd and Grand Challenge Course) – offered every Fall
    • Global Climate Change (GEO 305G: Grand Challenge Course)- offered every Spring
    • Geospatial Watershed Modeling (GEO/NRS/CVE 535)- offered every Spring
    • Readings in Hydrogeology (GEO 586)- offered in Fall and Spring