Associate Professor Earl Bardsley

Earl Bardsley

Associate Professor

Qualifications: BSc(Hons) Otago MSc Otago PhD Otago

About Earl

I have been recently involved with work following from my proposal to use Lake Onslow (Central Otago) for energy storage by way of a large pumped storage scheme. Subject to a preliminary study, the New Zealand government has allocated $70 million for a detailed site investigation. This $4 billion project has the capability to provide buffer against dry years for a transformed electricity-based economy with reduced emissions from transport and industrial heating. At the same time, the scheme will enable 100% renewable electricity, with constrained electricity prices, by 2030. If constructed, the Onslow scheme would represent a significant contribution by the University of Waikato toward reducing New Zealand’s non-agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.

Research Supervised

PhD         (chief supervisor)

MSc         (chief supervisor)

  • Waters, Amy (2019). Lake level forecasting for hydro power operation in the Clutha catchment.
  • Hampton, George (2016). Evaluation of a proposed aquifer recharge system, Poverty Bay Flats.
  • Qiao, Ying (2012). Detecting signals of climatic shifts and land use change from precipitation and river discharge variations: the Whanganui and Waikato catchments.
  • Hopkirk, Carrie (2011). Forecasting Lake Waikaremoana water availability for hydro power.
  • Vavae, Hillia (2008). A simple forecasting scheme for predicting low rainfalls in Funafuti, Tuvalu.
  • Jelley, Neil (2007). Forecasting seasonal drawdowns in Whangamata town supply wells.
  • Bear, Sarah (2005). Hydrological evaluation of pumped storage in the Onslow-Manorburn basin.
  • Kerr, Justin (2004). Assessing the hydrological implications of the Wilsonville quarry expansion at Hikurangi, Northland.
  • Bigham, Aiden (2003). A feasibility study on deep well injection as a means of disposing Kawerau effluent.
  • Campbell, Amy (2002). Efficiency evaluation for the Waitaki hydropower scheme.


  • Nalder, Guinevere (2006). Submerged thin plate weirs with unequal upstream and downstream beds.

BSc (Hons)

  • Johnstone, Sarah (2009). Forecasting seasonal inflows into Lake Taupo, North Island, New Zealand.

Research Interests

  • Interaction of pumped storage and river hydrology.
  • Data-based hydroclimatic forecasting.
  • Developing stochastic and deterministic models of maximum simplicity.

    A listing of published papers can be found in the Orcid link here.

Recent publications

The bounded inverse Weibull distribution: An extreme value alternative for application to annual maxima?
Watershed Ecology and the Environment v.3, p.57-63.  2021

What potential  is there for pumped storage in New Zealand?
International Water Power & Dam Construction 12 Feb 2021 (Editorial)


  • Meridian Energy Senior Research Fellow, 2000-2005
  • Distinguished Visiting Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 2011
  • New Zealand Hydrological Society Award For Outstanding Achievement, 2011


Climate; Environmental Change; Environmental Risks; Environmental Science and Technology; Natural Resources; Resource Management

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: EF.1.02
Phone: +64 7 858 5011