Paolo Benettin

Assistant professor, Department of Earth Surface Dynamics, UNIL

About me

I am the Principal Investigator in the Hydrology group. I have a background in Environmental Engineering. I like to use quantitative approaches that combine theory, modeling and field experiments.

My key expertise is in water transit times, which I use to understand flow and transport processes and vegetation water sources. I have experience with hydrological modeling, solute transport in soils and catchments, tracer experiments, water stable isotope approaches.

Research interests

  • water age and transit times
  • solute transport in catchments
  • streamwater sampling
  • streamflow generation processes
  • vegetation water sources
  • isotope ecohydrology
  • weighed lysimeters / soil columns

Work experience

2023 – now, Assistant Professor, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

2017 – 2023, Research Scientist, Ecohydrology lab, EPFL, Switzerland

2015 – 2017, Postdoc, Ecohydrology lab, EPFL, Switzerland


2012 – 2015, Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering and Science, supervisors: G. Botter and A. Rinaldo, University of Padova, Italy

2013 – 2014, Research Fellow, Virginia Tech University, USA

2010 – 2010, Erasmus student, Wageningen University, Netherlands

2005 – 2011, BS, MS, Environmental Engineering, University of Padova, Italy


* indicates supervised students


Druhan, J. L., & Benettin, P. (2023). Isotope Ratio – Discharge Relationships of Solutes Derived From Weathering Reactions. American Journal of Science, 323.

Richieri, B., Bittner, D., Hartmann, A., Benettin, P., Van Breukelen, B. M., Labat, D., & Chiogna, G. (2023). Using continuous electrical conductivity measurements to derive major solute concentrations in karst systems. Hydrological Processes, 37(6), e14929.

Kirchner, J. W., Benettin, P., & van Meerveld, I. (2023). Instructive Surprises in the Hydrological Functioning of Landscapes. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 51(1), annurev-earth-071822-100356.

Miele, F., Benettin, P., Wang, S., Retti, I., Asadollahi, M., Frutschi, M., Mohanty, B., Bernier‐Latmani, R., & Rinaldo, A. (2023). Spatially Explicit Linkages Between Redox Potential Cycles and Soil Moisture Fluctuations. Water Resources Research, 59(3).


Benettin, P., Rodriguez, N. B., Sprenger, M., Kim, M., Klaus, J., Harman, C. J., van der Velde, Y., Hrachowitz, M., Botter, G., McGuire, K. J., Kirchner, J. W., Rinaldo, A., & McDonnell, J. J. (2022). Transit Time Estimation in Catchments: Recent Developments and Future Directions. Water Resources Research, 58(11).

Sprenger, M., Llorens, P., Gallart, F., Benettin, P., Allen, S. T., & Latron, J. (2022). Precipitation fate and transport in a Mediterranean catchment through models calibrated on plant and stream water isotope data. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 26(15), 4093–4107.

Asadollahi*, M., Nehemy, M. F., McDonnell, J. J., Rinaldo, A., & Benettin, P. (2022). Toward a Closure of Catchment Mass Balance: Insight on the Missing Link From a Vegetated Lysimeter. Water Resources Research, 58(4).

Nehemy, M. F., Benettin, P., Allen, S. T., Steppe, K., Rinaldo, A., Lehmann, M. M., & McDonnell, J. J. (2022). Phloem water isotopically different to xylem water: Potential causes and implications for ecohydrological tracing. Ecohydrology.

Botter, G., Benettin, P., & Soulsby, C. (2022). Using water age to explore hydrological processes in contrasting environments. Hydrological Processes, 36(3).


Giezendanner, J., Benettin, P., Durighetto, N., Botter, G., & Rinaldo, A. (2021). A Note on the Role of Seasonal Expansions and Contractions of the Flowing Fluvial Network on Metapopulation Persistence. Water Resources Research, 57(11).

Benettin, P., Nehemy, M. F., Asadollahi, M., Pratt, D., Bensimon, M., McDonnell, J. J., & Rinaldo, A. (2021). Tracing and closing the water balance in a vegetated lysimeter. Water Resources Research, 57(4).

Benettin, P., Nehemy, M. F., Cernusak, L. A., Kahmen, A., & McDonnell, J. J. (2021). On the use of leaf water to determine plant water source: A proof of concept. Hydrological Processes, 35(3).

Li, L., Sullivan, P. L., Benettin, P., Cirpka, O. A., Bishop, K., Brantley, S. L., Knapp, J. L. A., Meerveld, I., Rinaldo, A., Seibert, J., Wen, H., & Kirchner, J. W. (2021). Toward catchment hydro‐biogeochemical theories. WIREs Water, 8(1).

Nehemy, M. F., Benettin, P., Asadollahi, M., Pratt, D., Rinaldo, A., & McDonnell, J. J. (2021). Tree water deficit and dynamic source water partitioning. Hydrological Processes, 35(1), e14004.


Benettin, P., Fovet, O., & Li, L. (2020). Nitrate removal and young stream water fractions at the catchment scale. Hydrological Processes, 3, hyp.13781.

Asadollahi*, M., Stumpp, C., Rinaldo, A., & Benettin, P. (2020). Transport and Water Age Dynamics in Soils: A Comparative Study of Spatially Integrated and Spatially Explicit Models. Water Resources Research, 56(3), 1–17.

Rodriguez, N. B., Benettin, P., & Klaus, J. (2020). Multimodal water age distributions and the challenge of complex hydrological landscapes. Hydrological Processes, October 2019, 1–18.

2013 – 2019

Benettin, P., Queloz, P., Bensimon, M., McDonnell, J. J., & Rinaldo, A. (2019). Velocities, residence times, tracer breakthroughs in a vegetated lysimeter: A multitracer experiment. Water Resources Research, 55(1), 21–33.

Sprenger, M., Stumpp, C., Weiler, M., Aeschbach, W., Allen, S. T., Benettin, P., Dubbert, M., Hartmann, A., Hrachowitz, M., Kirchner, J. W., McDonnell, J. J., Orlowski, N., Penna, D., Pfahl, S., Rinderer, M., Rodriguez, N., Schmidt, M., & Werner, C. (2019). The demographics of water: A review of water ages in the critical zone. Reviews of Geophysics, 2018RG000633.

Penna, D., Hopp, L., Scandellari, F., Allen, S. T., Benettin, P., Beyer, M., Geris, J., Klaus, J., Marshall, J. D., Schwendenmann, L., Volkmann, T. H. M., von Freyberg, J., Amin, A., Ceperley, N., Engel, M., Frentress, J., Giambastiani, Y., McDonnell, J. J., Zuecco, G., … Kirchner, J. W. (2018). Ideas and perspectives: Tracing terrestrial ecosystem water fluxes using hydrogen and oxygen stable isotopes – challenges and opportunities from an interdisciplinary perspective. Biogeosciences, 15(21), 6399–6415.

Benettin, P., Volkmann, T. H. M., von Freyberg, J., Frentress, J., Penna, D., Dawson, T. E., & Kirchner, J. W. (2018). Effects of climatic seasonality on the isotopic composition of evaporating soil waters. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 22(5), 2881–2890.

Benettin, P., & Bertuzzo, E. (2018). tran-SAS v1.0: A numerical model to compute catchment-scale hydrologic transport using StorAge Selection functions. Geoscientific Model Development, 11(4), 1627–1639.

Benettin, P., & van Breukelen, B. M. (2017). Decomposing the Bulk Electrical Conductivity of Streamflow To Recover Individual Solute Concentrations at High Frequency. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 4(12), 518–522.

Benettin, P., Bailey, S. W., Rinaldo, A., Likens, G. E., McGuire, K. J., & Botter, G. (2017). Young runoff fractions control streamwater age and solute concentration dynamics. Hydrological Processes, 31(16), 2982–2986.

Benettin, P., Soulsby, C., Birkel, C., Tetzlaff, D., Botter, G., & Rinaldo, A. (2017). Using SAS functions and high-resolution isotope data to unravel travel time distributions in headwater catchments. Water Resources Research, 53(3), 1864–1878.

Hrachowitz, M., Benettin, P., van Breukelen, B. M., Fovet, O., Howden, N. J. K., Ruiz, L., van der Velde, Y., & Wade, A. J. (2016). Transit times-the link between hydrology and water quality at the catchment scale. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 3(5), 629–657.

Rinaldo, A., Benettin, P., Harman, C. J., Hrachowitz, M., McGuire, K. J., van der Velde, Y., Bertuzzo, E., & Botter, G. (2016). Reply to comment by Porporato and Calabrese on “Storage selection functions: A coherent framework for quantifying how catchments store and release water and solutes”. Water Resources Research, 52(1), 616–618.

Benettin, P., Rinaldo, A., & Botter, G. (2015). Tracking residence times in hydrological systems: Forward and backward formulations. Hydrological Processes, 29(25), 5203–5213.

Benettin, P., Bailey, S. W., Campbell, J. L., Green, M. B., Rinaldo, A., Likens, G. E., McGuire, K. J., & Botter, G. (2015). Linking water age and solute dynamics in streamflow at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest, NH, USA. Water Resources Research, 51(11), 9256–9272.

Rinaldo, A., Benettin, P., Harman, C. J., Hrachowitz, M., McGuire, K. J., van der Velde, Y., Bertuzzo, E., & Botter, G. (2015). Storage selection functions: A coherent framework for quantifying how catchments store and release water and solutes. Water Resources Research, 51(6), 4840–4847.

Benettin, P., Kirchner, J. W., Rinaldo, A., & Botter, G. (2015). Modeling chloride transport using travel time distributions at Plynlimon, Wales. Water Resources Research, 51(5), 3259–3276.

Queloz, P., Carraro, L., Benettin, P., Botter, G., Rinaldo, A., & Bertuzzo, E. (2015). Transport of fluorobenzoate tracers in a vegetated hydrologic control volume: 2. Theoretical inferences and modeling. Water Resources Research, 51(4), 2793–2806.

Benettin, P., Rinaldo, A., & Botter, G. (2013). Kinematics of age mixing in advection-dispersion models. Water Resources Research, 49(12), Article 12.

Benettin, P., Van Der Velde, Y., Van Der Zee, S. E. A. T. M., Rinaldo, A., & Botter, G. (2013). Chloride circulation in a lowland catchment and the formulation of transport by travel time distributions. Water Resources Research, 49(8), Article 8.