Profile Series: Athanasios Serafeim

Contribution by Ritesh Patro.

Let’s get the basics. Name, where you are from, and your current affiliation and advisor?

My name is Athanasios V. Serafeim, and I originate from a small city in Northern Greece named Edessa. I recently received my Ph.D. from the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Patras, under the supervision of Prof. Andreas Langousis. Currently, I serve as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Patras focusing on the design, monitoring and management of urban water networks, while working also as a consultant of TECHNOR Engineering LTD (

What is the research you are currently working on?

My main research focuses on the development of an integrated, theoretically founded, and practically applicable methodological framework for resilient reduction of leakages in water distribution networks (WDNs), which combines: a) a set of probabilistic approaches for minimum night flow (MNF) estimation and parametric modeling of water losses in WDNs, and b) a combination of statistical clustering and hydraulic modeling techniques for WDN partitioning into pressure management areas (PMAs; or districted metered areas, DMAs). A side project I am currently working on investigates the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on domestic water consumption patterns.

What’s one crazy idea (hydrological or otherwise) that you have?

I believe that young professionals are an important resource for accomplishing both regional and global sustainable goals, as they can promote awareness, and forming a passionate society on environmental issues. Under this concept, I envision the development of a cross-devise platform for the exchange of concerns, ideas and solutions. More specifically, a decentralized young scientists and professionals network should be formed, which will delve into the specific characteristics and issues of regional water resources, while being constantly guided and advised by a central group of well-experienced and publicly acclaimed water professionals. Simultaneously, all workflows, starting from problem conceptualization to the final solution, will be shared with the global network, through a cross-devise platform, in order to create a pool of decision-making solutions, available to all involved individuals and stakeholders.

What got you started on this current research? Was there some epiphany or light bulb moment?

The problem of the continuing decline of available freshwater reserves is a pressing concern. The most critical natural resource for human survival and development is depleting, as: a) the proportion of accessible water reserves that rests in rivers, lakes, and groundwater aquifers, and can be readily used  for potable water production accounts for only 0.7% of Earth’s total water resources, and b)  the non-uniform distribution of precipitation in space and time and the ever-increasing demand for drinking water due to population growth and competing uses, constrain the availability of freshwater reserves. The challenge is even more severe when considering the effects of climate change on the spatial and temporal distribution of water resources. Hence, there is an urgent environmental and societal need to establish efficient management practices for water distribution networks (WDNs), which represent the fundamental infrastructure for delivering drinking water to end-users.

What do you find most exciting about your research topic/work? 

Water management is an exciting field due to its multifaceted nature, as well as existing and arising challenges. It involves identifying and implementing effective strategies to address complex issues related to the distribution, treatment, conservation, and governance of water resources. Furthermore, water management plays a crucial role in mitigating the impact of climate change on hydrological systems, ensuring equitable access to potable water, and fostering sustainable economic development. As a multidisciplinary field, water management requires collaboration among experts from diverse sectors, thus providing a dynamic and demanding environment that offers numerous opportunities for innovation and positive societal impact.

Who is your role model in science and why? What makes you admire them?

During my PhD studies, I was given the opportunity to attend a large number of conferences and summer schools, where I presented my work and interacted with numerous high-calibre researchers and well-established professionals. This experience of mine, together with my academic activity as a doctoral candidate at the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Patras, allowed me to identify four key facets for my own role model in academia: “educator”, “researcher”, “tutor” and “ambassador of societal unity”.

Special Acknowledgments:

Athanasios Serafeim would like to thank the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (H.F.R.I.) for supporting his Ph.D. work under the “First Call for H.F.R.I. Research Projects to support Faculty members and Researchers and the procurement of high-cost research equipment grant”.

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