2018 Lecturer | Dr. Keith Bristow

About the Lecturer

Dr. Keith L. Bristow is an internationally recognised leader in soil physics, groundwater hydrology and irrigated systems. He has initiated and led strategic and tactical research activities across Australia, particularly in northern tropical Australia, building partnerships with communities, industries and government agencies.

He led (1) the CRC for Irrigation Futures System Harmonisation Program, which pioneered application of transdisciplinary approaches to water and irrigation research and practice within a catchment context; (2) the Northern Australia Irrigation Futures (NAIF) project that delivered the first major collaboration between the Australian, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian Governments to develop new knowledge, tools and processes to support debate and transparent decision making regarding the role irrigation may or may not play in the future of northern Australia.

Dr. Bristow is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO, Townsville, Australia and an Honorary Professor at the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa.

He led development of the concept of ‘irrigation mosaics’ as a new approach to more sustainable irrigation in northern tropical Australia and co-founded and served as inaugural Chair of Burdekin Water Futures, a multi-disciplinary and multi-organisational effort focussed on improving long-term environmental, social and economic sustainability of the lower Burdekin in northern Queensland, Australia.

Dr. Bristow has authored/co-authored more than 100 refereed journal papers, given more than 20 international invited Keynote Presentations, and has two patents. He has also served as Member of the Editorial Board for Agricultural Water Management, Soil Science, Vadose Zone Journal and Irrigation Science.
Dr. Bristow is a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, and a recipient of the Soil Science Society of America Don and Betty Kirkham Soil Physics Award.


  • Ph.D. Soil Physics/Hydrology, Washington State University, USA; 1983
  • M.Sc. Agrometeorology, University of the Orange Free State, South Africa; 1980
  • B.Sc. Physics, University of Natal, South Africa; 1977
  • B.Sc. Physics & Geology, University of Natal, South Africa; 1976