Water and Environmental Engineering

Hydrology investigates water movement in the landscape.

Snow presents many challenges to hydrologists

Collecting rainfall measurements for the QUICS project.

The Water and Environmental Engineering research group focuses on developing the theory and tools needed to address the complex issue of water security in a changing world.

Human activity has a significant impact on the global water cycle. Snow packs are declining and flood patterns are changing as a result of human induced climate change, aquifer storages are shrinking due to excessive groundwater pumping, river flow regimes are distorted due to dams, reservoirs and agricultural abstractions, and groundwater recharge is altering due to changes in urbanization and deforestation. The combined impact of an altered, dwindling resource base and growing demand is reducing water security in many regions of the world. At the same time, a warming climate will exhibit more hydro-meteorological extremes and more variability, leading to changing patterns in natural hazards and freshwater distribution.

The group consists of a multidisciplinary team of engineers and scientists who combine process understanding, mathematical modelling, novel monitoring approaches and engineering principles to solve societal water problems. Our work includes new approaches to water, sanitation and health. New approaches and methods are necessary in a world that is less likely to be threatened by armed conflict than by population growth, climate change, water shortages and pollution, as well as poverty and rising food prices.

Water security is a major societal challenge. Will we have enough clean water? What are our flood and drought risks and how do we manage them? Our group develops new understanding and solutions to address these challenges.

Dr Ross Woods, Head of Group
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