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Dr. James Li

James Li
BASc, MASc, PhD, PEng
416-979-5000 ext. 6470

Areas of Academic Interest

Water resources engineering

Urban stormwater management

Hydraulic engineering of open channels and closed conduits

Industrial spill management

Bioassay analysis techniques for persistent toxic pollutants

Environmental benefits of urban green roofs


Year University Degree
1991 University of Toronto PhD
1986 University of Windsor MASc
1983 University of Windsor BASc

Selected Courses

Course Code Course Title
CVL903 Water Resources Engineering
CVL300 Environmental Impact Assessment
CV8202 Surface Water Pollution Analysis


James Li’s professional life revolves around water: water that falls from the sky, the quality of our lakes and rivers, the state of our sewage systems.

“I’ve always been drawn to disciplines and innovations that advance society,” says Li. “As a graduate student, I was focused on the environmental impact of engineering. I then became interested in eco-hydrology, stormwater management, water pollution – everything to do with water resources in the urban environment.”

Managing the hydrologic cycle in a city as large as Toronto is a particular challenge. The current “collect and drain” approach to stormwater, for example, means that the city’s salt and surface garbage are getting washed off the streets and into Lake Ontario. That’s untreated waste.

With our lakes and rivers changing for the worse, Li is focused on sustainable solutions. And he considers himself lucky to be working with young people who grew up with a green mindset and want to find those solutions. “More and more engineering students are interested in the environment,” he says. “With increasing urbanization and global warming changing our storm patterns, we need the energy and creativity of young people engaged in sustainable engineering.”

James Li

“To my mind, the biggest engineering problems are urban. With the movement of populations around the world to cities, we need smart people working on green solutions.”

  • University of Toronto, Connaught Scholarship, 1987-1989
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship, 1990-1991
  • Diplomate, Academy of American Water Resources Engineers
  • Li, J., Joksimovic, D., Tran, J.  2015. A Right of Way Stormwater Low Impact Development Practice, Journal of Water Management Modeling, DOI:10.14796/JWMM.C390.
  • Parhizgari, Z. and Li, J. 2014. A Physiologically-based Pharmacokinetic Model for Deposition of 2,3,7,8-TCDD in Fathead Minnow and Medaka, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, SETEC PRESS, 33(5):1064-1071.
  • Eric, M., Fan, C., Joksimovic, D., and Li, J. 2013. Modeling low impact development potential with hydrological response units, Water Science and Technology, International Water Association Publishing, 68(11): 2382-2390.
  • Cao, W., Li, J., Joksimovic, J., Yuen, A., Banting, D. 2013.  Probabilistic Spill Occurrence Simulation for Chemical Spills Management. Journal of Hazardous Materials (Elsevier B.V.), 262:517-526.
  • Sze, K., J. Li, P’ng, J. 2012. Evaluation of stormwater impacts on larviciding chemicals at catch basins for west nile virus control, ASCE Journal of Environmental Engineering, 2(138): 182-189.
  • Member, Professional Engineer Ontario
  • Diplomate, Academcy of American Water Resources Engineers
  • American Society of Civil Engineers, Associate Member
  • Canadian Association on Water Quality, Member
  • Water Environment Federation, Member
  • International Water Association, Member
  • International Association of Hydraulic Research, Member