Nash, Eamonn

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Eamonn Nash


J. E. (Eamonn) Nash 1927 – 2000


James Eamonn Nash graduated as a civil engineer from Galway University in 1949 and started work with the Irish Electricity Supply Board for dam engineering. Right from the beginning, Nash collaborated with the hydrologist J.C.I. Dooge and remained his friend during his lifetime. In 1955, Nash obtained the Master degree of Engineering from Galway University for a work relating to flood propagation in rivers. One year later, Nash moved to HR Wallingford and developed the Instant Unit Hydrograph IUH Method, for which his name became famous. The IUH was represented by the gamma function and linearly relates flows in basic catchments. The paper was awarded the Telford premium by the Institution of Civil Engineers, London, in 1958. The IUH was applied with success to British catchment areas in the early 1960s.

After a two-years stay in Nigeria, Nash returned to Wallingford but soon after took the position of senior lecturer at Galway University. He was one of the founders of the Journal of Hydrology in 1963. In 1970 he submitted a PhD thesis and was appointed professor of engineering hydrology. From 1979 Nash organized the International postgraduate hydrology courses, with a large number of students from all continents until 2000. Nash was awarded the honorary doctorate from the University of Nanching, the International Premium of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences IAHS in 1989, and the 1999 Ven Te Chow award from ASCE for his groundbreaking investigations in hydrologic engineering and innovative solutions of hydraulic problems

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

Eamonn Nash made major contributions to the linear theory of hydrological systems, including the "Nash Cascade" of n linear reservoirs in series. He also pioneered the use of regression in relating the parameters of hydrological models to catchment characteristics. The Journal of Hydrology paper with John Sutcliffe in 1970 introduced the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency measure for calibrating hydrological models and became one of the most highly cited papers in hydrology (see Koutsoyiannis, D. and Kundzewicz, Z. W., 2007 Editorial: Quantifying the Impact of Hydrological Studies, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 52(1), 3-17)

Reference Material[edit]

Source: Water Engineering and Management through Time: Learning from History edited by Enrique Cabrera and Francisco Arregui (2010), Taylor and Francis Group, London, UK, p. 149.

Major Publications[edit]


Nash, J. E. (1969), A course of lectures on parametric or analytical hydrology, Great Lakes Institute, University of Toronto, 200 pages.


Nash, J. E. (1957), The form of the instantaneous unit hydrograph, Internat. Assoc. Scient. Hydrology, Publ. 45 (Toronto).

Nash, J. E. (1958), Determining run-off from rainfall, P. I. Civil Eng., 10, 163–184; 11, 510–521.

Nash, J. E. (1960), A unit hydrograph study, with particular reference to British catchments, P. I. Civil Eng., 17, 249–282; 20, 464.

Nash, J. E., and J. V. Sutcliffe (1970), River flow forecasting through conceptual models part I – A discussion of principles, J. Hydrol., 10(3), 282–290.

O’Connell, P. E., J. E. Nash, and J. P. Farrell (1970), River flow forecasting through conceptual models part II – The Brosna catchment at Ferbane, J. Hydrol., 10(4), 317–329.

Mandeville, A. N., P. E. O’Connell, J. V. Sutcliffe, and J. E. Nash (1970), River flow forecasting through conceptual models part III – The Ray catchment at Grendon Underwood, J. Hydrol., 11(2), 109–128.

Nash, J. E. (1992), Chapter 12: Hydrology and hydrologists – reflections, Advances in Theoretical Hydrology, 191–199.

Shamseldin, A. Y., and J. E. Nash (1998), The geomorphological unit hydrograph – a critical review, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sc., 2(1), 1–8.

Penman, H. L., J. E. Nash, H. C. Pereira, and M. Nixon (2007), A view from the watershed, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sc., 11(1), 12–25.


AGU Virtual Hydrologist Page (with links to pdfs): Eamonn Nash