• The University of Western Australia (M004), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Dr Sarah Bourke is a Hydrogeologist with expertise in environmental tracers, surface water – groundwater interaction and contaminant hydrogeology. Sarah is a Lecturer and Course Coordinator of the Master of Hydrogeology in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Western Australia. She has extensive links to government and industry and a demonstrated capacity to deliver high-quality, practical outcomes through collaborative research projects.

Sarah completed her Bachelor of Earth Science at Flinders University, with studies in Japan and the USA. She completed an Honours year at the University of Western Australia before working as a Hydrogeologist for the state government for five years. Her PhD, through Flinders University, was a collaborative research project with Rio Tinto Iron Ore applying environmental tracers to understand surface water – groundwater interaction in areas modified by mining. Her presentation on this work was awarded best presentation by an early career Hydrogeologist at the IAH congress in 2013.

Following her PhD Sarah worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, studying potential impacts on groundwater from mining and agricultural operations overlying clay-rich sediments.

She returned to the University of Western Australia in Perth, where she works as a passionate advocate for Hydrogeology practice, research and training. Current research projects understanding responses of groundwater systems to changes in climate and human groundwater use.  She also has an interest in decolonizing the practice of hydrogeology and working with Aboriginal communities on issues that affect them (declaration.iah.org.au). 

Sarah has been engaged with IAH for 15 years and is the Chair of the Western Australian chapter and Regional Vice-President for Australasia and the Pacific. When not thinking about groundwater, Sarah sings in choirs and potters in the garden.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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