New Visiting Professor joins Oxford Water Network

Professor Dale Whittington, renowned globally for his research contributions to the fields of economics, public health, and water management, has joined the Oxford Water Network as Visiting Professor at the School of Geography and the Environment.  Prof. Whittington has pioneered methods to understand the willingness of poor people to pay for clean water, generating insights for development policy over a 40-year career.  Other major contributions include his research on water resource planning and systems analysis in some of the most complex and contentious river basins around the world, including the Nile and Ganges. 

To begin his time as a Visiting Professor, Prof. Whittington will come to Oxford this term and give a talk on 7 March on the economics of Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) and will use his time as a Visiting Professor to foster and expand both current initiatives with those at Oxford.  He has active collaborations with several members of the Oxford Water Network, including Profs Simon Dadson, David Grey, Jim Hall, and Robert Hope and Drs Dustin Garrick and Kevin Wheeler.  His active collaborations include a project (with Dr Wheeler and Prof Hall) examining the hydrologic, economic, and psychological impacts of the recent and substantial infrastructure developments that are occurring in the upstream Nile riparian countries of Ethiopia and Sudan. Prof. Whittington also collaborates with Dr Garrick on a GCRF project on informal water markets in Kenya and is actively engaged with Prof. Hope on the theme of water affordability central to SDG 6.1.

Prof Whittington is a professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering and the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.  He has also served in advisory and committee positions for the World Bank, the Global Water Partnership (GWP), the U.S. National Research Council, and a series of technical boards addressing water management in the Nile Basin.  These roles include his position on the Oxford-led Global Water Partnership/OECD task force on water security and sustainable growth (2013-15), which culminated with an agenda-setting report launched at the World Water Forum in April 2015.


Monitoring the Nile for long-term sustainability

This article by Chris Flitch in Water on the Nile River features a quote by Dr. Kevin Wheeler of the University of Oxford.


Water Security and Poverty: Learning from the source at REACH’s Oxford conference


The 2018 IPCC Special Report warns of the increased risk of extreme weather events such as floods, and droughts in a warmer world. These risks, coupled with population growth, urbanisation and industrialisation, will increase the demand for water and will further stress available water resources. Meanwhile, the 2018 High-level Political Forum’s review of the progress on Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) states that current efforts are not on track to meet SDG 6 targets by 2030. These trends and increased pressures highlight a clear need to strengthen policies and investments to improve water security, unlock sustainable growth and help the poor move out of poverty. 

Since 2015, the DFID-funded REACH programme has been collaborating with government, practitioner, and enterprise stakeholders to improve water security for millions of poor people in Africa and South Asia by delivering world-class science that influences policy and practice. On 27-29 March, REACH’s international conference on Water Security and Poverty will convene leading practitioners and scientists in Oxford to discuss key results to date from the REACH programme in Bangladesh, Kenya and Ethiopia, and continue to shape major academic, policy and practice debates around water security and poverty. Key topics to be discussed at the conference include: groundwater and poverty; rural water security; climate resilience; strengthening institutions; water affordability; water quality risks; water and health; women and marginalized groups; and aligning sectors to achieve the SDGs—particularly SDG6. The full programme for the conference can be accessed here.

Ganvie, Benin







A key focus of the conference will be to present current state of water security knowledge in Africa and Asia and discuss research uptake into policy and practice with external policy makers and practitioners including senior members of the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh; representatives from UNICEF, DFID, Sida, IWMI, UN-HABITAT and Oxfam; and many key UK and international universities and organisations. The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, Professor Louise Richardson will open the conference on 27 March. Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, Chief Coordinator for SDG Affairs, Prime Minister’s Office, Government of Bangladesh, H.E. Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Minister, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Government of Ethiopia, and Hon. Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Kenya, have confirmed their participation, demonstrating their support and commitment to REACH.  Their presence at the conference alongside that of key practitioners will be important in highlighting what the priority areas are, where real progress is being made, and where interventions and investments should focus. This conference will focus on inclusive opinions with half of the speakers being women and half of them being from Asia and Africa.

Tickets to the conference are still available from the conference website.

If you have any questions about the conference, please email: