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Director, Center on Financial Risk in Environmental Systems; Wiliam R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
(919) 843-5545


Gregory W. Characklis has been on the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering since 2001. His primary research interests involve developing solutions to water resource challenges through systems-based approaches that integrate consideration of both engineering and economic principles. Specific areas of interest include the development of more efficient (e.g., market-based) approaches for managing water resources, the economic and environmental tradeoffs associated with energy production, and the development of new tools and strategies for managing environmental financial risks.

Prior to joining UNC-Chapel Hill, Characklis spent two years as director of Resource Development and Management at Azurix Corp., where his responsibilities centered around assessing the technical and financial merits of water supply development projects throughout the U.S., including most of the western states. Before entering the private sector, he spent two years in Washington, D.C., as a fellow with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) where he co-authored a study on industrial environmental performance metrics for U.S. manufacturers and conducted work related to market-based reform of environmental policy.

Characklis holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering from Rice University and a B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering from Johns Hopkins University.  He and his wife Raquel have three children, daughters Katie (born 1999) and Kayla (born 2002), and son Will (born 2009).


Ph.D., Environmental Science and Engineering, Rice University, 1999
M.S., Environmental Science and Engineering, Rice University, 1994
B.S., Materials Science and Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, 1989

Selected Publications

Meyer, E. S., Characklis, G. W., Brown, C. M. and P. Moody (2015). “Hedging the Financial Risk from Water Scarcity for Great Lakes Shipping,” Water Resources Research, doi:10.1002/2015WR017855.

Kern, J. D., Characklis, G. W. and B. F. Foster (2015). “Natural Gas Price Uncertainty and the Cost Effectiveness of Hedging Against Low Hydropower Revenues Caused by Drought,” Water Resources Research, 51, doi:10.1002/2014WR016533.

Zeff, H. B., Kasprzyk, J. R., Herman, J. D., Reed, P. M. and G. W. Characklis (2014). “Navigating Financial and Supply Reliability Tradeoffs in Regional Drought Portfolios,” Water Resources Research, 50, doi:10.1002/2013WR015126.

Zeff, H.B. and G. W. Characklis (2013). “Managing Water Utility Financial Risks through Third-Party Index Insurance Contracts,” Water Resources Research, 49, doi:10.1002/wrcr.20364.

Characklis, G. W., Kirsch, B. R., Ramsey, J., Dillard, K. E. M. and C. T. Kelley (2006). “Developing Portfolios of Water Supply Transfers”, Water Resources Research, 42(5), W05403.