Megan Konar

Megan Konar
Megan Konar
  • William J. and Elaine F. Hall Faculty Fellow
  • Associate Professor
(217) 244-6493
3022 Civil Eng Hydrosystems Lab

Primary Research Area

  • Water Resources Engineering and Science

Research Areas

For More Information


Megan Konar joined the CEE faculty in fall 2013. She holds a Ph.D. (2012) and an M.S. (2009), both in Civil and Environmental Engineering, from Princeton University, an M.Sc. (2005) in Water Science, Policy, and Management from the University of Oxford, and a B.S. in Conservation and Resource Studies (2002) from the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Konar teaches CEE 350 Water Resources Engineering and CEE 598 Globalization of Water.

Dr. Konar's awards and honors include the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent, NSF CAREER award, AGU Hydrologic Sciences Section Early Career Award, and Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize.


  • Ph.D. Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University, 2012
  • M.S. Water Science, Policy, and Management, University of Oxford, 2005
  • B.S. Conservation and Resource Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 2002

Academic Positions

  • Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2020-present

Professional Societies

  • Chair, Water and Society Technical Committee, American Geophysical Union, 2022-2024

Research Interests

  • Networks
  • Food flows
  • Food supply chains
  • Water Footprints
  • Virtual Water Trade
  • Water-Food Nexus

Research Statement

Dr. Konar conducts policy-relevant research that focuses on the intersection of water, food, and trade. Her research is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing from hydrology, environmental science, and economics. To conduct this research, she applies a range of quantitative tools, such as modeling, network analysis, and econometrics. Dr. Konar's research group is motivated by the overarching scientific question: ``What is the relationship between water resources and food supply chains?'' We are interested in understanding how food supply chains impact water use and sustainability, as well as the exposure of agri-food supply chains to water risk, including long-term water stress and shorter-term water hazards. To tackle our overarching research question, we have been working to uncover how water impacts agri-food supply chains, how supply chains impact water use, and their interactions.

Primary Research Area

  • Water Resources Engineering and Science

Research Areas

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Ruess, P.J., M. Konar, N.Wanders, and M. Bierkens (2023) Irrigation by crop in the Continental United States from 2008 to 2020, Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1029/2022WR032804.
  • Wang, J., D.B. Karakoc, and M. Konar (2022) The carbon footprint of cold chain food flows in the United States, Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability, doi: 10.1088/2634-4505/ac676d.
  • Karakoc, D.B. and M. Konar (2021) A complex network framework for the efficiency and resilience trade-off in global food trade, Environmental Research Letters, Vol 16, pp. 105003, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ac1a9b.
  • Jackson, N., M. Konar, P. Debaere and J. Sheffield (2021) Crop-specific exposure to extreme temperature and moisture for the globe for the last half century, Environmental Research Letters, Vol 16, Issue 6, pp. 064006, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/abf8e0.
  • Konar, M. and L. Marston (2020) The Water Footprint of the United States, Water, Vol 12, Issue 11, pp. 3286, doi: 10.3390/w12113286.
  • von Gnechten, R., J. Wang, M. Konar, K. Baylis, P. Anderson, S. Giroux, N. Jackson, and T. Evans (2020) A gravity model and network analysis of household food sharing in Zambia, Environmental Research Letters, Vol 15, pp. 115010, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/abbe44.
  • Gumidyala, S., P.J. Ruess, M. Konar, L. Marston, C. Dalin, and Y. Wada, (2020) Groundwater depletion embedded in transfers and exports of the United States, Water Resources Research, Vol 56, Issue 2, pp. e2019WR024986, doi: 10.1029/2019WR024986.
  • Jackson, N., M. Konar, P. Debaere, and L. Estes (2019) Probabilistic global maps of crop-specific areas from 1961 to 2014, Environmental Research Letters, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab3b93.
  • Lin, X., P.J. Ruess, L. Marston, and M. Konar (2019) Food flows between counties in the United States, Environmental Research Letters, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab29ae
  • Djehdian, L., C. Chini, L. Marston, M. Konar, and A.S. Stillwell (2019) The food-energy-water nexus of cities: Local and indirect water stress of urban areas in the United States, Sustainable Cities and Society, Vol 50, pp. 101621, doi: 10.1016/j.scs.2019.101621.
  • Ruess, P.J. and M. Konar (2019) Grain and virtual water storage capacity in the United States, Water Resources Research, Vol 55, pp. 3960-3975, doi: 10.1029/2018WR024292.
  • Dang, Q., M. Konar, and P. Debaere (2018) Trade openness and the nutrient use of nations, Environmental Research Letters, Vol 13, Issue 12, pp. 124016, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aaebcb
  • Konar, M., X. Lin, B. Ruddell, and M. Sivapalan (2018), Scaling properties of food flow networks, PLoS ONE, Vol 13, Issue 7, pp. e0199498, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199498.
  • Marston, L., Y. Ao, M. Konar, M. Mekonnen, and A.Y. Hoekstra (2018), High-resolution water footprints of production of the United States, Water Resources Research, Vol 54, doi: 10.1002/2017WR021923.
  • Dang, Q. and M. Konar (2018), Trade openness and domestic water use, Water Resources Research, doi: 10.1002/2017WR021102.
  • Deryugina, T., and M. Konar (2017), Impacts of crop insurance on water withdrawals for irrigation, Advances in Water Resources, Vol 110, pp. 437-444, doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2017.03.013.
  • Marston, L. and M. Konar (2017), Drought impacts to water footprints and virtual water transfers of the Central Valley of California, Water Resources Research, Vol 53, doi: 10.1002/2016WR020251.
  • Chini, C., M. Konar, and A.S. Stillwell (2017), Direct and indirect urban water footprints of the United States, Water Resources Research, Vol 53, doi: 10.1002/2016WR019473.
  • Konar, M., T.P. Evans, M. Levy, C.A. Scott, T.J. Troy, C.J. Vorosmarty, and M. Sivapalan (2016), Water resources sustainability in a globalizing world: who uses the water? Hydrological Processes, Vol 30, Issue 18, pp. 3330-3336, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10843.
  • Konar, M., J.J. Reimer, N. Hanasaki, and Z. Hussein (2016), The water footprint of staple crop trade under climate and policy scenarios, Environmental Research Letters, Vol 11, Issue 3, 035006, doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/035006.
  • Dang, Q., M. Konar, J.J. Reimer, G. Di Baldassarre, R. Zeng and X. Lin (2016), A theoretical model of water and trade, Advances in Water Resources, Vol 89, pp. 32-41, doi: 10.1016/j.advwatres.2015.12.016.
  • Jackson, N., M. Konar, and A. Hoekstra (2015), The water footprint of food aid, Sustainability, Vol 7, Issue 6, pp. 6435-6456, doi: 10.3390/su7066435.
  • Marston, L., M. Konar, X. Cai, and T. Troy (2015), Virtual groundwater transfers from overexploited aquifers in the United States, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol 112, No 28, pp. 8561-8566, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1500457112.
  • Dang, Q., X. Lin and M. Konar, (2015), Agricultural virtual water flows within the United States, Water Resources Research, Vol 51, doi:10.1002/2014WR015919.
  • Lin, X., Q. Dang, and M. Konar (2014), A network analysis of food flows within the United States of America, Environmental Science & Technology, Vol 48, Issue 10, pp. 5439-5447, doi: 10.1021/es500471d.
  • Konar, M. and K.K. Caylor (2013), Virtual water trade and development in Africa, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol 17, pp 3969-3982, doi: 10.5194/hess-17-3969-2013.
  • Konar, M., Z. Hussein, N. Hanasaki, D.L. Mauzerall and I. Rodriguez-Iturbe (2013), Virtual water trade flows and savings under climate change, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol 17, pp. 3219-3234, doi:10.5194/hess-17-3219-2013.
  • Dalin, C., M. Konar, N. Hanasaki, A. Rinaldo and I. Rodriguez-Iturbe, (2012), Evolution of the global virtual water trade network, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol 109, Issue 16, pp. 5989-5994, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1203176109.
  • Konar, M., C. Dalin, S. Suweis, N. Hanasaki, A. Rinaldo and I. Rodriguez-Iturbe (2011), Water for food: The global virtual water trade network, Water Resources Research, Vol 47, Issue 5, W05520, doi: 10.1029/2010WR010307.

Magazine Articles

  • What the War in Ukraine Means for the World's Food Supply, Op-Ed in The New York Times, with Michael J. Puma, 01 March 2022.


  • Walter L. Huber Civil Engineering Research Prize (2022)
  • Dean's Award for Excellence in Research (2022)
  • Campus Distinguished Promotion Award (2020)
  • Hydrologic Science Early Career Award (2019)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2019)
  • Graduate Research Fellowship Program, National Science Foundation (2007)

Teaching Honors

  • List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent (CEE 350) (2019)