Climate Displacement, Humanitarian Needs and Forecast based Financing

OWN member, Lisa Thalheimer, presents at EGU press conference on “Climate Displacement, Humanitarian Needs and Forecast based Financing”.

Watch the presentation here.

Read the blog post here. 

Job Opening: Departmental Lecturer and MSc Course Director; Water Science, Policy and Management (WSPM)

The School of Geography and the Environment is seeking to appoint a Departmental Lecturer and MSc Course Director.  The successful candidate will manage and deliver the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management (WSPM) in conjunction with the programme’s Academic Director and the Director of Graduate Studies (PGT). The focus of this Masters programme is to develop a critical understanding of natural water science and the socio-economic, political, cultural and institutional environments within which water management decisions are made.

You will lead in the coordination, teaching, marking and supervision for the WSPM course and you will also contribute to the academic administration of the department and maintain an active research and publication profile.

To undertake this role, you will hold, or be close to completion of, a PhD/DPhil in a field closely related to the WSPM Masters programme and have a track record of postdoctoral research and high quality academic publication in an appropriate field. You will also need to demonstrate an awareness of pedagogic methods and the ability to be an effective teacher of graduate students of high ability by lecturing at an appropriate level in an interesting and engaging manner; supervising MSc dissertations; and undertaking student assessments and examinations.

This post, which will be based at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, is a full time, 5-year departmental appointment with no formal college association, though informal relationships may be established on an individual basis.

JOB TITLE: Departmental Lecturer and MSc Course Director; Water Science, Policy and Management (WSPM)



GRADE: Grade 8: £41,526 – £49,553 p.a.

FIXED TERM DURATION OR STATUS: Full time, fixed term for 5 years

CLOSING DATE: 27 May 2020


NOTES: This post is available from 1 July 2020

This post is 80% teaching and course coordination and 20% independent research

Applications are particularly welcome and encouraged from women candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in SoGE. SoGE is committed to equality and values diversity

COVID-19 amplifies water security inequalities

Dr Katrina Charles, REACH Co-Director and OWN Leadership Team Member, discusses the impacts of COVID-19 on water security inequalities. Read about it here.

Rural water quality monitoring within reach: moving beyond the quantity vs. quality mindset

OWN member and REACH researcher, Saskia Nowicki, argues that substantial improvements in rural water safety will likely remain out of reach unless there is a shift in attitudes towards water quality and quantity. Read about it here.

ECR & PHD opportunities in water governance

13 PhD fully funded 3-years positions in the area of water governance with the NEWAVE Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network

Here the 13 available Early Stage Researcher/PhD positions descriptions.

With the exception of ESR/PhD project #3, which looks for someone with a natural science/modelling background, the call is looking for candidates with a strong social science background. The ideal requirements for each position can be a bit different, for example specific language skills appropriate for the project field work.

NEWAVE are particularly interested in candidates that have strong professional experience in the field of water and environmental governance (for example NGOs, International Organizations, etc) that can qualify as early stage researchers (mainly no other PhD obtained and less than four years of full time research experience) satisfying specific eligibility requirements.

The deadline for the application has been extended to May 24th 2020. Candidates are expected to start in September-October 2020 and NEWAVE is prepared to adapt to the Covid-19 situation by leveraging remote connection and remote work.

The selected candidates will become the backbone of a stellar actionable research network that includes some of the leading academic and non-academic organizations in the world of water governance including 10 host organizations and 19 partners.

Interested candidates are invited to submit online a proposal only for their preferred option, additionally they can list two alternative preferences among the available positions.

Before applying candidates should read carefully the application information on the NEWAVE website.

For more information, see the exhaustive guide for applicants.

Transformative digitally enabled programme to improve rural water supply and services in Africa

Led by Oxford, DAWN brings together leading academics from universities in Mali, Tanzania and Zambia with OWN members Alex Money, Rob Hope, Partrick Thomson and Johanna Koehler. Project partners include GSMA Mobile for Development Utilities, RWSN and the Uptime consortium.

Commenting on the launch, Alex Money, Principal Investigator said: “Digital services are enablers of sustainable development. DAWN convenes a powerful network, motivated to improve how rural water services are delivered. Covid-19 throws existing challenges in the sector into sharp relief. Solutions are required urgently, and that’s only possible with collaboration.”

The first stage of the programme runs for one year, and will be followed by a competitive call for a longer-term project. For more details of the grant, click here.

Modelling plastics and applications of biosensors to monitor pollution

Monitoring water pollution using molecular biosensors, Bangladesh

As part of the UK REACH project in Bangladesh (, OWN members Paul Whitehead and Cordelia Rampley (Oxford Molecular Biosensors) have been evaluating the new technology of molecular biosensors and how they might be used in water research and pollution/water toxicity issues. Biosensors provide a new way of measuring the environment using the idea that microbes will respond to chemical pollution by altering their metabolism. The team tweak the DNA to enhance the activity of the microbes and also add the DNA of a light emitting gene. The biosensor equipment can then be used to rapidly detect and monitor pollution in rivers and groundwater. (See to understand more about this technology).

Figure 1. Water sampling points along the Turag, Tongi and Balu river systems in central Dhaka and biosensor toxicity data showing the pollution hot spots around this part of the city (lower plot)

Working with colleagues in Bangladesh at BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) we have been testing water samples to map toxicity and pollution. We have been comparing toxicity with direct water use along the Turag, Tongi and Balu rivers to assess health impacts. The idea is to assist the Bangladesh Government with restoration of the central Dhaka river systems, to improve water quality and people’s access to clean water, as well as enhance livelihoods along the river system.

Modelling microplastics in the River Thames basin

In a project funded by Oxford University and supported by DEFRA, Paul Whitehead, together with colleagues in Oxford and Associates Daniel Butterfield and Gianba Bussi, have created a new model of microplastics in rivers and applied it to the whole of the River Thames basin.

Figure 2. The eight sub-catchments used to apply the INCA Plastics model to the River Thames basin

The INCA Plastics model has been developed to simulate the transport and distribution of plastics in river systems. It forms a new element of the process- based and dynamic INtegrated CAtchments suite of flow and water quality models. The model has been set up for the Thames from the source at Cricklade to the downstream tidal limit at Teddington Weir. It uses 2008-2018 daily data and effluent discharges and sewage sludge to simulate flows and suspended sediment at various locations along the river.

Figure 3. Simulated and observed flows and suspended sediments at Kingston Upon Thames, for the period 2008-2018

Microplastics data from UKWIR studies have been used to estimate loads of plastics from these sources. A set of mitigation studies have also been undertaken to evaluate the impacts of controlling plastic discharges. Reducing plastic sources by 50% makes a significant difference to the loads of microplastics moving along the Thames.

Figure 4. Microplastics load (kg) moving down the River Thames at different locations for the period 2008-2018. Blue line shows load simulated by the model for existing conditions, and orange line shows alternative results under a mitigation strategy.

The OWN thanks The WRA Bulletin for providing the contents of this news item. The WRA Bulletin is a quarterly publication, and relies on contributions submitted by Partners, Associates and Consultants. The document is circulated by email, and published on the WRA web-site, aiming to keep the WRA network up-to-date with respect to current activities.

EGU Preview

By Marcus Buechel

EGU has such a varied and interesting array of topics that is impossible to keep up with it all; especially when you normally have to run from venue to venue! This year it has gone online and I’ve tried to select a collection of the hydrologically-related topics that you can peruse at your desk. There are many more exciting things to explore so don’t just limit yourself to this list, have a look at: You might even learn how to communicate your science through poetry!

Dates: 4th – 8th May (this week!)
Registration: Not required

(All times stated are Central European Summer Time)

Sessions run by current OHG members:

Session: HS6.3

Session: HS2.4.1

Interesting Sessions

Monday 4th

Session: HS1.1.3

Session: HS2.2.1

Session: NH1.6/AS1.5/HS13.10

Session: HS2.1.5

Session: HS6.2/AS2.5

Session: EOS7.10/HS1.2.8

Session: GM5.1

Tuesday 5th

Session: HS2.1.2/CR3.6

Session: HS6.7

Session: HS2.2.2/AS2.15/BG2.27/NH1.15/NP5.9/OS4.33

Session: CL4.21/AS2.7/HS13.9

Session: HS7.10/NH1.12

Wednesday 6th

Session: HS6.3

Session: HS1.2.3/EOS4.11

Session: HS3.6

Session: HS1.2.6/NP1.6

Session: GM3.6/HS13.34/SSP3.11

Session: HS7.4

Thursday 7th

Session: ITS4.1/NP4.2/AS5.19/CL5.15/ESSI2.5/G6.6/GD10.10/HS3.8/SM1.7

Session: HS2.4.1

Session: HS6.4/BG2.16

Session: US2

Session: HS4.6/CL4.39

Session: HS2.4.2

Session: HS2.5.1

Session: HS10.6/BG3.51

Session: NH3.4/HS13.39

Friday 8th

Session: HS2.4.7

Session: HS2.5.2

Session: US4

Session: HS2.4.3