Meet the Researchers: water@leeds: at the heart of global water research

Wednesday 8 March 2023
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Online event
Every Wednesday
Wednesday 29 March 2023
Lectures and seminars
General public

Join us in March for a weekly webinar series that showcases some of the Leeds research from water@leeds that is helping to understand and solve major global water issues.

Water is at the core of human survival, and recent decades have brought increased urgency to tackle the many water-related challenges facing the world; from limited access to safe water and sanitation, to increasing pressure on water resources and ecosystems, and the exacerbated risk of droughts and floods from climate change. Here at the University of Leeds, water@leeds focuses on tackling these major water problems. Bringing together a community of more than 200 researchers in one of the largest interdisciplinary centres for water research in any university in the world, water@leeds encompass expertise from across the physical, biological, chemical, social and economic sciences as well as engineering and the arts.

Martin Tillotson, Director of water@leeds and Professor of Water Management, School of Civil Engineering, will be chairing all the webinars.

Sign up for these Meet the Researchers: water@leeds webinars

8 March: How do you research the global water crisis? Answer big 6 questions!

Anna Mdee, Professor in the Politics of Global Development, School of Politics and International Studies

What are the big six global water questions? In 2022, water@leeds published a paper in One Earth setting an agenda for water research in the coming decade. Research on water is inherently interdisciplinary linking diverse fields such as hydrology, anthropology, chemistry, creative writing, politics, public health and many more. Prof. Anna Mdee led a global survey of the water sector to identify the top 100 global water research questions which were then distilled down to the big six.

Join us to find out what they are and how Leeds is playing a part in providing answers.

15 March: Improving urban sanitation around the world

Dr. Paul Hutchings, Lecturer in Water, Sanitation and Health, School of Civil Engineering

Over 4 billion people use sanitation services that leave human waste untreated, significantly contributing to disease and environmental degradation. Sanitation services in unplanned, high-density urban settlements – often called slums – have the most harmful service deficiencies and a lack of solutions. In this webinar, Dr Paul Hutchings, will unpack the causes of this global problem and provide an overview of research at Leeds that is trying to find solutions.

22 March: Restoring our peatlands: carbon, costs and climate change

Julia Martin-Ortega, Professor of Ecological Economics and Associate Director of water@leeds, School of Earth and Environment

Peatlands play a vital role in carbon capture; covering just over 3% of the Earth’s surface, they store a third of the world’s soil carbon. However, following decades of degradation, the global peatland greenhouse gas balance is changing, threatening the capacity and potential of peatlands and compromising other major benefits such as erosion control, water quality and biodiversity. Efforts to scale up peatland restoration were emphasized at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, but the costs and benefits of this restoration need to be understood for effective progress. This webinar will present a pioneering study on the economic assessment of peatland restoration. Join us to discover how investing in peatland restoration sooner rather than later will avoid huge costs, generate benefits to society and ultimately address our climate emergency.

29 March: Treading on thin ice: a looming water crisis in the Third Pole

Duncan Quincey, Professor of Glaciology, and Alex Scoffield, PhD student, School of Geography

The Himalayas, widely known as the World’s ‘Third Pole’, is the source of ten of the World’s major river basins. It is here, at high elevation, that climate change is hitting hardest, and fastest, changing iconic landscapes forever, and threatening downstream water supplies.

The challenges of accessing and working in these remote regions means that few researchers witness the changes at first hand. In this webinar University of Leeds glaciologists, Duncan Quincey and Alex Scoffield, will introduce you to their work in Nepal. They will talk about some of the major environmental changes that this region has seen over the last few decades, using satellite observations and field photographs. They will share their experiences of drilling 200 m into the World’s highest glacier using an adapted pressure washer, and they will set out their upcoming plans to paddle across a glacial lake and measure its temperature throughout a summer monsoon.

Join us for what promises to be a visually stimulating talk about the world's highest mountain range, the people that live there, and what science can do to help them prepare for a looming water crisis.