Robert Varady

Research Professor Emeritus, Environmental Policy

Robert G. Varady is Research Professor Emeritus of Environmental Policy the Udall Center at the University of Arizona, where he is a past director and deputy director. He obtained his PhD in 1981 in the modern history of developing-country infrastructure from the University of Arizona and holds MS and BS degrees in mathematics from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn (now NYU Tandon School of Engineering) and the City College of New York, respectively.

Varady's work mostly has addressed environmental and water-management governance and policy in arid regions, with an emphasis on transboundary issues, especially along the U.S.-Mexico border. He has studied the history of global water initiatives, transboundary aquifer governance, and water security in the Americas. He has been a consultant to UNESCO, FAO, and GEF on a number of water-related efforts; and led an evaluation of UNESCO’s World Water Assessment Program.

Varady has co-edited 13 books, monographs, digests, edited volumes, and journal special issues; and published some 230 essays and reports on water and environmental governance, policy, and history; agricultural development; information management; and transportation systems. He has directed environmental and agricultural projects in Latin America, West Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

He is a Fellow Member of the International Water Resources Association, past president of the International Water History Association (IWHA), and his international efforts were recognized by the University of Arizona’s 2012 Award for Excellence in Global Service.

Areas of expertise and research interests

  • Global and transboundary groundwater governance
  • Global water initiatives
  • Environment, natural-resources, climate, water security, and water-management policy
  • U.S.-Mexico border environment, comparative border environmental policy 
  • History of water, environment, natural-resources, agriculture, infrastructure
  • Environment and development in Mexico, West Africa, South Asia, Middle East