A photo of overcast sky, mountains and river in Norway


Science for the predictive understanding of water resources in a changing world.

Future changes in freshwater resources will impact on environment and ecosystem processes and our understanding of adaptation mechanisms.  Water in a Changing World includes studies into improving public awareness of freshwater resources and influencing human behaviour to mitigate against harmful future impacts. 

Water in a Changing World also seeks to predict and better establish how future supplies, demands and use of freshwater will affect the livelihoods, health and well-being of humans, including from increased risks of flooding, drought, and the spread of diseases. 

Clean freshwater underpins all life on earth and human demands upon it are increasing.   This, together with uncertainty in the spatial and temporal supplies due to climate change, drives the need for science to enable us to better predict, manage and protect future freshwater resources and freshwater ecosystems.

A red bridge going over a river as seen from underneath at dusk


Novel tools and approaches to deliver transformative water solutions.

Nurturing our current and future researcher teams is our top priority, providing a productive environment in which their concepts can be developed and career ambitions realised.  From postgraduate researchers to senior academics, our research community develops world-leading ideas and technological initiatives that provide a catalyst for economic growth and improved social cohesion, additionally enhancing our knowledge and future protection of a healthy water environment. 

A focus on resource recovery and the circular economy, the incorporation of digital technologies and AI to improve water related processes and the innovative sharing of knowledge and data will be key to our on-going success across the GW4 region.

Through Water Innovations at our institutions we will revolutionise future water governance and management, discovering scalable solutions to the risks and challenges faced by our business and wider public stakeholders at a local, regional and international level.

Aerial photo of a reservoir


Management and governance to address trade-offs between natural and engineered water systems.

Society and the terrestrial water cycle have become closely interconnected through a long history of human interventions, including land cover change, the building of reservoirs and the training of rivers. 

The integrated management and governance of this water system is essential if we are to sustain ecosystems as well as the societies that rely on the ecosystem services that these systems provide. Holistic strategies are required to understand, manage and communicate complex interactions and trade-offs between hydrologic ecosystem services and hazards in an increasingly changing and uncertain world.

Such strategies depend on a strong evidence base integrating both monitoring and modelling of the water quality and quantity aspects of the water cycle. Holistic systems analyses have to be based on mechanistic models that enable the testing of adaptation strategies and current and potential future conditions.



A £10.5 million investment will fund world-leading research into the provision of safe and resilient water services in the UK and overseas.


An international team of researchers and organisations help tackle food and water insecurity in the Horn of Africa Drylands (HAD).


The project will look at demonstrating technologies with a potential to contribute to reuse and recovery of resources within a perspective of circular economy.


A £4.1m NERC-funded initiative bringing together academic experts, businesses and policy makers to solve some of the challenges involved in managing, utilising and improving the natural environment.