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How we're improving global water security

By Newcastle University
How_Newcastle_University_is_Improving_Global_Water_Security

Engineers at Newcastle University are leading a global collaboration to help tackle barriers to water security. Read the full blog to find out more.  

Newcastle University's engineering experts are leading the way in research to:

  • manage water pollution
  • treat wastewater
  • help communities prepare for extreme floods and droughts caused by the climate emergency 
  • safeguard the world’s river deltas
  • provide clean drinking water for all

 

Newcastle University and water research

Newcastle’s academic excellence in water research, spanning over seven decades, was recognised by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), which announced Newcastle as the lead for two of the 12 Global Research Hubs set up to tackle the world's toughest challenges.  

 The enormity of the problem means we can only solve it if we work together, by bringing researchers of different backgrounds together with local communities, local and national governments, water providers, business and industry and global organisations.  

The UKRI Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Living Deltas and Water Security and Sustainable Development Hubs bring together 94 organisations from 25 countries and draw on the expertise of scientists, engineers, geographers, architects and social scientists. 

 

What is the UKRI GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub?

While 80% of the world’s population live in areas threatened by water securityefforts to resolve this are repeatedly thwarted by pressures such as pollution, extreme weather, urbanisation, over-abstraction of groundwater and land degradation.  

Led by Newcastle University’s Professor Richard Dawson, the UKRI GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub aims to meet this challenge by: 

  • understanding the technical, social and governance barriers and challenges necessary to address water security
  • bringing together leading global experts from academia, industry and government to understand the true value of water and address the challenge of water security for all
  • creating a global network of inclusive local water collaboratories where stakeholders can meet, explore and reconcile water security issues using a transdisciplinary co‐production approach
  • working with partners around the world to develop and apply interdisciplinary systems approaches to water security 
  • understanding and mitigating the impacts of climate change such as drought and flooding, and developing new solutions for water management and sanitation

Richard Dawson_Civil Engineer

Professor Richard Dawson by the Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) at Newcastle Helix

What does the Hub do? 

The Hub brings together leading research partners from Colombia (Universidad del Valle and Universidad del Cauca), Ethiopia (University of Addis Ababa), India (Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and School of Planning and Architecture Delhi), Malaysia (University Teknologi Malaysia), the UK (University of Leeds and University of Oxford), and the International Water Management Institute. 

Richard Dawson, a civil engineer from the School of Engineering at Newcastle UniversityUK, said: The enormity of the problem means we can only solve it if we work together, by bringing researchers of different backgrounds together with local communities, local and national governments, water providers, business and industry and global organisations.  

We inform policy at an international scale for water governance and sanitation, catchment management and resilience to climate change.

“I am delighted by the quality of our partnership which has a truly global presence.  The key is to learn from each other, to share examples of good practice and look at how these can be transferred and translated to ensure water security around the world. 

“This Hub builds on our expertise, marking a new era in our research programme, as we work with partners around the world to develop and apply interdisciplinary systems approaches to water security, explicitly acknowledging the interplay between the physical world and the people that live in it.” 

 

Seventy years of water engineering research at Newcastle University is transforming people’s lives across the world 

Newcastle University has been at the forefront of water engineering research for the past seven decades. Collaborating with industry leaders, academics, policy makers and communities around the world, our engineers and scientists at Newcastle are contributing to industrial and policy solutions that are making a real difference and ensuring water sustainability and security for the future. 

Professor Dawson said: “Our teams are developing solutions for water challenges globally, bringing together experts in water engineering, energy, health and sanitation to ensure that water is managed and used in a sustainable way. We inform policy at an international scale for water governance and sanitation, catchment management and resilience to climate change.” 

 


Professor Richard Dawson

Professor Richard Dawson is Professor of Earth Systems Engineering and Director of Research & Innovation in the School of Engineering. His work addresses environmental and climate risks to the built environment and infrastructure. He is a member of the UK’s Climate Change Committee, and a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chapter on Cities, Settlements & Key Infrastructure.


 
Find out more about how we're improving water security on our project website, or sign up for our research newsletter below to keep up to date with news from across the University.

 

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Tags: One Planet, Research