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Theo Sarris

Dr Theo Sarris is a Science Leader in the Environmental Science team based at ESR's Christchurch Science Centre.


Theo holds a master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering from Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), and master’s and doctoral degrees in hydrology from the University of South Carolina (United States of America).


Theo leads ESR’s Water and Environment group, which delivers world-class research, science, and data-driven solutions in water safety and quality. A key focus for the team is the sources, transport, and impact of microbiological, chemical, and microplastic contaminants in drinking water as well as groundwater, rivers, marine environment, wastewater, and biowaste. The team is also strongly focused on pathogen outbreak prevention and supporting emergency responses to contaminant incidents in drinking and other waters. Theo provides input to science strategy development for both this group and the wider organisation, while building strategic relationships within New Zealand and internationally. Theo’s background is in hydrology. He received his PhD from the University of South Carolina in 2003, and has close to 30 years’ professional experience in the United States, Europe and Australasia in areas as diverse as research, governance, and engineering consulting. Theo is an Honorary Research Associate in the School of Mathematics & Statistics, Victoria University of Wellington, and a Senior Associate Editor of the ICE journal Environmental Geotechnics.