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Drought risk and its management in a changing climate: A partnership with Anglian Water (OSBORNTU19SCI50)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Timothy Osborn
    Dr N Addor
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Increasing drought resilience in a changing climate is now a priority for water companies. This project is an opportunity to undertake drought research at the cutting edge of academia and industry. The PhD student will be supervised by climate scientists and hydrologists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and will work in close collaboration with water managers at Anglian Water.

Anglian Water is responsible for supplying drinking water to currently 4.3 million people in the East of England. As this region is one of the driest in the country, Anglian Water develops and implements new methods for drought risk management, in collaboration with the Climatic Research Unit at UEA. These methods span meteorology/climatology, hydrology, water resource system modelling and economic appraisal.

This PhD project will investigate the frequency and intensity of severe and extreme droughts in the UK, in particular in the East of England. This will include the analysis of historical events and of state-of-the-art climate model projections. These will be used to drive hydrological and water resources models to test the resilience of Anglian Water resources systems, support the development of adaptation strategies and eventually increase resilience to droughts. The research will also involve using new hydrological modelling approaches (relying on modular frameworks) to quantitatively assess future drought risks.

The student will benefit from placements at Anglian Water in the hydrology and/or supply-demand strategy teams with associated training and skill development. The placements will cover a total period of about 3 months over the 3 years of the PhD project.

A degree in a relevant subject area (Environmental Sciences, Physics, Maths, Geography or a related discipline), quantitative skills, ability to interact with experts from different backgrounds, and a creative, independent and dedicated personality are desired.

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here:

Type of Programme: PhD

Project start date: October 2019

Mode of study: Full time

Location: Norwich

Entry requirements: Acceptable first degree - Bachelor or Master degree in Environmental Sciences, Physics, Maths, Geography or a related discipline. The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1.

Funding Notes

This PhD studentship is jointly funded for three years by Faculty of Science and Anglian Water. Applications are open to UK/EU applicants only and funding comprises home/EU tuition fees, an annual stipend of £15,009 and £1000 per annum to support research training.


i) Environment Agency: The state of the environment: water resources, Report,
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ii) Park C.-E., Jeong S.-J., Joshi M., Osborn T.J., Ho C.-H., Piao S., Chen D., Liu J., Yang H., Park H., Kim B.-K. and Feng S.: Keeping global warming within 1.5°C constrains emergence of aridification, Nature Climate Change, 8, 70-74, doi:10.1038/s41558-017-0034-4, 2018.

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iv) Addor, N., Rössler, O., Köplin, N., Huss, M., Weingartner, R. and Seibert, J.: Robust changes and sources of uncertainty in the projected hydrological regimes of Swiss catchments, Water Resources Research, 50(10), 7541–7562, doi:10.1002/2014WR015549, 2014.

v) Shepherd, T. G., Boyd, E., Calel, R. A., Chapman, S. C., Dessai, S., Dima-West, I. M., Fowler, H. J., James, R., Douglas, M., Martius, O., Senior, C. A., Sobel, A. H., Stainforth, D. A., Tett, S. F. B., Trenberth, K. E., van den Hurk, B. J. J. M., Watkins, N. W., Wilby, R. L. and Zenghelis, D. A.: Storylines: An alternative approach to representing uncertainty in climate change, Climatic Change, doi:10.1007/s10584-018-2317-9, 2018.

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