Milnes, Ellen

Professeure Titulaire


  • Teaching and supervision on MSc and PhD levels: applied hydrogeology in humanitarian contexts
  • Research projects in applied hydrogeology: recharge processes in semi-arid/arid regions, hydrogeomorphology, rapid groundwater potential mapping, groundwater management in humanitarian contexts, hydro-tectonics and groundwater salinisation.
  • Specific hydrogeological investigations and expertise in the field of sustainable groundwater management and groundwater protection contracted by private and humanitarian actors
  • Continuing education and tailor-made training courses: Responsible for the WATSAN (water and sanitation engineering) course in collaboration with ICRC and for the CAS-WASH in collaboration with SUPSI and EAWAG). Tailor-made training courses in applied hydrogeology for the private and public sectors (e.g. SDC, UNHCR) in Switzerland and abroad, including 


Positions held

  • 2016 -   Lecturer covering the field of Hydrogeology in humanitarian contexts at CHYN, coordination of several continuing education courses in WASH and solar pumping
  • 2014 - Part-time (50%) principal hydrogeologist at HQ of UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees) supporting refugee operations worldwide with on-site and remote technical support, seconded by the Humanitarian Aid unit of the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC)
  • 2008-2016 Senior Lecturer at CHYN in the group of quantitative hydrogeology, teaching: applied hydrogeological field courses, numerical simulation, geotechnics
  • 2007-2008 Postdoctoral Fellow at CHYN
  • 2006 SNF Postdocoral Research Fellow at ENIT (Ecole National d’Ingénieur de Tunis) and IMFT (Institut de Mécanique des Fluides de Toulouse)
  • 1997-1999 Colenco : Dam and tunnel geotechnical engineer (150 MW hydroelectric power project Casecnan, Philippines)



  • 2005: PhD at the University of Neuchâtel in applied and quantitative hydrogeology
  • 2000: Postgraduate Diploma in hydrogeology, University of Neuchâtel.
  • 1997: Diploma in geology and earth sciences at the Federal Institute of Technology ETHZ.


Links to training courses

WATSAN cours: www.unine.ch/watsan

CAS-WASH: www2.supsi.ch/cms/caswash

Media coverage

WATSAN Training

RTS (CQFD): https://www.rts.ch/play/radio/cqfd/audio/watsan-eau-et-assainissement-en-situation-de-crise?id=7012495

Solar pumping training

Canal alpha :  http://www.canalalpha.ch/actu/les-specialistes-de-leau-du-hcr-se-forment-a-buix/


Applied research project “Rapid groundwater potential mapping” (Project funded by Swiss Development Agency)

Swiss Info: https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/bidi-bidi-uganda-groundwater/44901952

Eine Welt : https://www.eine-welt.ch/fr/2019/edition-4/de-leau-pour-bidi-bidi

RTS (CQFD) : https://www.rts.ch/play/radio/cqfd/audio/quand-les-cartes-dhydrogeologie-aident-a-fournir-de-leau-dans-les-camps-de-refugies?id=10184774



Hassen I., Milnes E., Gibson H., Bouhlila R., 2019. Impact of groundwater flow across tectonic aquifer compartments in a Miocene sandstone aquifer: three-dimensional hydrogeological modeling of the Kasserine aquifer system in central Tunisia and northeastern Algeria. Hydrogeology Journal. 4/2019. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-019-01931-2.

Falco P., Negro F., Szalai S., Milnes E., 2013. Fracture characterisation using geoelectric null-arrays. Journal of Applied Geophysics 93 (2013) 33–42.

Milnes E., Perrochet P., 2013. Assessing the impact of thermal recycling in open-loop groundwater heat pumps (GWHP) systems: a complementary design tool. Hydrogeology Journal . DOI 10.1007/s10040-012-0902-y.

Milnes E., 2011. Process-based groundwater salinisation risk assessment methodology: Application to the Akrotiri aquifer (Southern Cyprus). Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 399 (1-2), pp. 29-47.

Milnes E., Perrochet P., 2007. Simultaneous identification of a single pollution point-source location and contamination time under known flow-field conditions. Advances in Water Resources, 30, pp. 2439-2446.

Milnes E., Perrochet P., 2006. Direct simulation of solute recycling in irrigated areas. Advances in Water Resources, 29(8), pp. 1140-1154.

Milnes E., Renard P., 2004. The problem of salt recycling and seawater intrusion in coastal irrigated plains: an example from the Kiti aquifer (Southern Cyprus). Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 288, pp. 327-343












Office: E323

​Phone: +41 (0)32 718 25 94




Centre for Hydrogeology and Geothermics (CHYN)
Emile-Argand 11
CH-2000 Neuchâtel