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David Boutt - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

David Boutt

Professor of Earth, Geographic, and Climate Sciences | University of Massachusetts Amherst


David Boutt's research focuses on the interplay of surface water and groundwater, and on sub-surface processes that impact it on its journey

Expertise (8)



Groundwater Recharge Processes



Paleo Hydrology

Groundwater Hydrology

Watershed Hydrology


David Boutt provides expert commentary on issues related to groundwater and hydrology. He is especially interested in how lithium mining affects water quality. He has been featured in publication including the Boston Globe and ScienceNews.

Boutt's work focuses on how water becomes groundwater and the sub-surface processes that impact it along its journey. This includes understanding how groundwater contributes to streamflow generation and springs. He also works to understand how much water is available for a region at a given time in geologic history and where the source the source of this water is located.

He is also a member of the Climate Science Advisory Panel through the new Massachusetts Office of Climate Science, charged with providing expertise on statewide climate science and future projections used to inform state and local climate adaptation planning and projects.

Social Media






David Boutt - Do you know where your catchment ends? The role of inter-basin groundwater flow and hydrogeologic transience...


Education (3)

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology,: Ph.D., Hydrology

Michigan State University: M.S., Hydrogeology

Michigan State University: B.S., Geosciences

Select Recent Media Coverage (7)

Could Pennsylvania’s fracking wastewater hold the key to the country’s energy transition?

WHYY  radio


David Boutt comments on research into fracking wastewater containing lithium from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale. “These are very high lithium concentrations. And some of them are approaching concentrations of lithium that we see in [South America],” says Boutt, who was not involved in the study. “So having a source of lithium in what is essentially a waste product is a really important step.”


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Low-lying flood plains along the Connecticut River hit hardest in flooding

New England Public Media  online


David Boutt says recent heavy rainfall in the area that resulted in severe flooding of the Connecticut River and this event is unique because it wasn’t associated with a tropical storm system like Hurricane Irene in 2011 or with large snow melts.

David Boutt in flooded river

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'Flash droughts' and weather 'whiplash.' Welcome to New England’s climate future

WBUR  online


Over the last 150 years, UMass hydrology professor David Boutt says that records show the region tends to get a dry period like the one we’re experiencing this summer about once every ten years or so.

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Much of Massachusetts in drought with drying likely to continue; Residents urged to take water conservation steps now

MassLive  online


David Boutt, geosciences, comments on the current drought in Massachusetts. He says that with the global climate crisis looming on the horizon, extreme weather patterns, like severe droughts mirrored by intense precipitation, will likely increase in the years to come.

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Massachusetts drought conditions, coronavirus making it tough on farmers: ‘Mother Nature’s revenge’

Boston Herald  print


“Ever since May, we’ve been piling up a deficit in rainfall,” said David Boutt, a professor in the UMass Amherst Department of Geosciences. “A lot of restrictions are definitely warranted given how dry the early part of the season was,” said Boutt, a hydrogeologist.

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The search for new geologic sources of lithium could power a clean future

ScienceNews  online


David F. Boutt from UMass Amherst says environmental issues may hamper future mining of lithium, a key chemical used in rechargeable batteries. He says mining in Chile is complicated by the need to protect water tables and maintain habitats for flamingoes and other wild birds.

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Wait, that water could still be here? Stormwater could last up to 5 years in streams, researchers say

The Boston Globe  print


Water from large precipitation events, such as tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2011, circulated in New England surface and groundwater for four to five years, longer than previously thought, hydrogeologists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst say. “Because New England has been having wetter and wetter conditions over the last 30 to 40 years, events like this allow more water to be going through the soil,” said hydrogeologist David Boutt,

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