Density functional theory (DFT) has been used to investigate the plausibility of water addition to the simple mononuclear ruthenium complexes, [(NH3)(3)(bpy)Ru=O](2+/3+) and [(NH3)(3)(bpy)RuOH](3+), in which the OH fragment adds to the 2,2'-bipyridine (bpy) ligand. Activation of bpy toward water addition has frequently been postulated within the literature, although there exists little definitive experimental evidence for this type of "covalent hydration". In this study, we examine the energetic dependence of the reaction upon metal oxidation state, overall spin state of the complex, as well as selectivity for various positions on the bipyridine ring. The thermodynamic is found to be highly dependent upon all three parameters, with free energies of reaction that span favorable and unfavorable regimes. Aqueous addition to [(NH3)(3)(bpy)Ru=O](3+) was found to be highly favorable for the S = 1/2 state, while reduction of the formal oxidation state on the metal center makes the reaction highly unfavorable. Examination of both facial and meridional isomers reveals that when bipyridine occupies the position trans to the ruthenyl oxo atom, reactivity toward OH addition decreases and the site preferences are altered. The electronic structure and spectroscopic signatures (EPR parameters and simulated spectra) have been determined to aid in recognition of "covalent hydration" in experimental systems. EPR parameters are found to uniquely characterize the position of the OH addition to the bpy as well as the overall spin state of the system.