Global water security is one of today’s grand societal challenges. Achieving water security is complicated by climate change, which will increase the occurrence of hydrological extremes in many places of the world and intensify drought and flood risk. Many countries most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change are also experiencing rapid population growth and demographic change. As these processes are highly uncertain, traditional water management infrastructure such as levees and reservoirs lack the necessary adaptive capacity to achieve long-term water security. Nature-based solutions such as ecosystem conservation, wetland construction, and artificial recharge may provide potential alternatives, as they tend to be more flexible and adaptive and may generate multiple ecosystem services and benefits. However, the design and implementation of such solutions is complicated because they rely on highly dynamic and variable hydrological processes and on specific social-environmental conditions in the basins, which are often poorly understood and quantified.
This project will quantify the actual and potential contribution of nature-based solutions to global water security through a combination of field experiments in the tropical Andes and the UK, and advanced computational modelling using the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator.
The student will be based in the Hydrology and Water Resources Laboratory at Imperial College London, which manages a large portfolio of research projects on the interface between hydrology, water resources management, and sustainable development. We are a dynamic and diverse team, currently consisting of 12 PhD students, research associates, project managers, and academic staff. The student will also work closely with our international partners, in particular a large development project funded by USAID and the Canadian Government to operationalize the use of nature-based solutions for water security in Peru.
Supervisor: Prof Wouter Buytaert https://www.imperial.ac.uk/people/w.buytaert
A good Upper Second or First Class Degree (or International equivalent) in engineering, environmental science, or a closely related discipline.
A Masters level degree qualification.
A good command of the English language, including report writing skills.
A solid background in hydrology and water resources.
Good knowledge and experience in programming (ideally R or Python).
Funding for this studentship will be sought through departmental and College scholarship schemes, subject to open competition. These studentships can provide funding for 3.5 years including tuition fees and a tax-free stipend at the standard UKRI London rate, ~£17,285 for the 2020/21 academic year. Full funding is available to Home students. The funding can also be used to partly support an international student.
Applicants wishing to be considered for this opportunity should send the following application documents to Prof Wouter Buytaert:
1. Current CV including details of their academic record
2. Covering letter making explaining their motivation and suitability (1 page maximum)
3. Contact details of two academic referees
Application via the Imperial College Registry is not necessary at this stage. Applications will be regularly reviewed until the position is filled. Please contact Prof Buytaert for further details, informal discussions, and information about the project.