Tarek Jan Ketelsen

Tarek Ketelsen is an environmental engineer with more than a decade of experience in hydrological, geomorphological and environmental impact assessments of development plans and projects. He has worked on projects in Australia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Tanzania, Siberia and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. From 2009 to September 2015, Tarek was the Technical Director of the International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) where he oversaw the implementation of more than 20 projects globally. Previously, he has worked as part of a DFAT initiative to build capacity of the Vietnamese Southern Institute of Water Resource Planning (SIWRP) in EIA methodologies for irrigation and water control infrastructure in the Mekong Delta. Tarek has also worked as a water resource engineer in the Australian mining industry, undertaking flood studies and designing pumping, water supply systems and flood control structures for mines and mining towns in the Pilbara and Goldfields regions; as well as a water engineer in the design and construction of biodiesel and edible oil extraction plants in Malaysia. Tarek?s key capabilities are in the creative application of integrated environmental assessment methodologies to guide stakeholders through an evidence-based, deliberative, process that draws science and diverse interests to bear on planning and policy processes. This capacity has been demonstrated in diverse fields ranging from processes to inform transboundary hydropower development planning in the Mekong River, to climate change vulnerability and adaptation planning processes in Nepal, to water audits in remote, water-scarce mine-towns of the Australian Pilbara.

Organisational Capability

  • • Designing and implementing integrated environmental assessments (i.e. Strategic Environmental Assessments
    (SEA), ESIA and Cumulative Impact Assessments (CIA)).
    • Designing and implementing Environmental Baseline studies, river health frameworks and Environmental
    Monitoring Programs (EMPs).
    • Undertaking climate change risk and vulnerability assessments and supporting national and local governments
    in adaptation planning for ecosystems and infrastructure.
    • Modelling assessments of catchments and water resources, including hydrological modelling of catchment
    processes, water allocation/use modelling of shared resources, resource availability assessments, and hydraulic
    modelling of pipe and floodplain flows.
    • Training and capacity building of government and civil-society actors in integrated environmental and climate
    change adaptation assessments.
    • Design and facilitation of consultation platforms for multiple stakeholders.
    • In-depth understanding of institutional and planning context of LDC countries such as Cambodia, Laos,
    Myanmar, Nepal as well as other South East Asian nations such as Vietnam and Thailand.
    • Project/program design for bilateral and multi-lateral development partners, including Asian Development
    Bank, World Bank Group, DFAT, USAID.


  • Myanmar Healthy Rivers Initiative (MHRI) Team Leader, WLE Mekong & DFAT, with Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Forestry. Myanmar
    MHRI supports development planning in Myanmar with tools and methodologies for monitoring and valuing the health of riverine ecosystems in the Irrawaddy and Salween river systems through the development of a River Health Framework. Main activities as Team Leader include: (1) management of a multi-disciplinary team of 15 specialists, (2) apply basin wide approaches to watershed assessments that utilize remote-sensing data, (3) site appraisal and community survey techniques for assessing ecosystem health and community uses, (4) define hydro-ecological indicators and monitoring protocol, (5) annual river health report, and (6) development of a National River Health Framework (RHF) drawing from Australian best-practice.
  • Lao Climate Risk & Vulnerability Assessment for Rural infrastructure in Xekong and Saravane Provinces Team Leader, UNDP, with Dept. of Disaster Management & Climate Change. Lao PDR
    Undertake CRVA for 25 rural infrastructure investments in Xekong and Saravane provinces to determine resilient investment priorities, including mapping of climate risks, establishment of a risk assessment methodology for MONRE, development of an infrastructure asset inventory and drafting of 25 Village-level adaptation plans. Preliminary findings of the LCRVA will be presented by Lao delegates at the COP Paris Global Climate Change Conference.
  • Informing the design of fish passes to mitigate the impact of hydroelectric dams on fish migrations in the Lower Mekong Basin. Lead hydrologist, Carghill Foundation Lao PDR
    Detailed hydrological analysis of Khone Fall channels with fish catch surveys to determine conditions and thresholds in natural channels passable by Mekong fish species to provide preliminary guidance on fish pass dimensions and design hydraulics for Mekong-specific fish passes, including: characterization of channel geomorphology and channel hydraulics; Training of National University of Laos staff and students in hydraulic field assessment techniques and the use of equipment (i.e. ADCP); development of velocity profiles linked to fish species as identified by the biological assessment team, and technical recommendations for key design criteria for fish passage infrastructure and scope of a feasibility study.
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment of Mekong mainstream hydropower Project Manager & hydrologist, Mekong River Commission, Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand & Viet Nam
    SEA assessing issues of economic, social and environmental sustainability of the 12 proposed mainstream dams based on an integrated assessment of the opportunities and risks associated with mainstream hydropower to inform regional decision making. Activities performed: Overall design & management of the SEA process & team, coordination of government and other stakeholder consultations, trend analysis of strategic issues relating to hydrology & sediment of the Mekong Basin including sediment trapping of dams, implications of dam operations and climate change on flow regime and rapid water surface level fluctuations associated with peaking operations, project performance tracking, development of stakeholder communications plan.
  • Civil Society and private sector training in the use of SEAs in hydropower development SEA specialist WWF Russia, Rivers without Borders Irkutsk Siberia
    Training of Russian NGOs and hydropower developers in the methodology of SEA for application in hydropower decision making in the major river basins of Russia, including: development of a training program; development of case study materials from SEAs on large hydropower in the Mekong region to facilitate sharing of lessons learned; facilitation of a multi-day training session for a broad range of stakeholders (civil society representatives from throughout Russia, Europe and Asia, government and municipality representatives, scientific community and research institution representatives, water managers and users and journalists).
  • Newman Town water balance and system efficiency review Water Resource Engineer BHP Billiton, Pilbara, Western Australia
    Review of existing water supply system for Whaleback mine site and adjoining town of Newman. Activities Performed: Design of evaluation methods and indicator framework. Performance review for 30 groundwater bores (including headworks & storage tanks) and bore management arrangements, re-design route, flow capacity and specifications for two parallel supply lines: drinking water & industrial/mine site, development of a system water balance monitoring and abstraction volumes and disaggregating between domestic, mine site processes, dust suppression water use, capacity building & training of mine staff to monitor and update water balance allowing monthly response to changes in demand/supply signatures.