Water challenges in a changing world

Water is essential for human health, prosperity, and security. Yet billions of people worldwide are confronted by serious water-related challenges, from water scarcity and uneven access, poor quality and lack of sanitation to disasters such as flood and drought.

The rise in frequency, magnitude and impacts of hydrological extremes, including associated water contamination and environmental pollution, is now recognised as a severe threat to environmental and public health globally. UNESCO calculates that 80 per cent of the world’s population, across all societies, now live in areas that are under high water security threats. Meanwhile, changes in the availability and management of the world’s water resources are having a direct impact on aquatic and water-dependent eco-systems. 

The Water Challenges theme is addressing globally relevant water resource and quality challenges relating to the serious threats to water systems around the world, one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals. Our researchers are pioneering a multidisciplinary approach that builds on the success of the University’s virtual Birmingham Water Council, created in 2017 to integrate water-related research across the institution in a joint-up approach of investigating water quantity and quality challenges together. 

Our theme is addressing relationships between people, society and the environment; focusing on improving understanding of the complex interactions between those elements to allow better resilience and preparation for potential crises in water supply and enables water resources to be managed more sustainably. 

Read research by our academics

Resilience to drought: Quest

Coping with increasingly extreme hydrological events

Water Crisis: Heroes

Tackling grand challenges in water research

Water for All

Global Goals: Clean Water and Sanitation

Leading the way

UNESCO Chair in Water Sciences

Led by Professor Stefan Krause