Water Sciences

At Birmingham we are using cutting-edge approaches and blending expertise to develop sustainable solutions to global water challenges.

Birmingham has a long-standing reputation for undertaking research that addresses both natural and social science aspects of water including hydrology, water policy and governance.

Our researchers are developing innovative and sustainable solutions to solve the water problems that societies are facing today. They explore the grand challenges in water research which require multidisciplinary approaches to address water resources in a changing environment from floods, droughts and resilience to the problems caused by human activities.

By blending expertise in Environmental, Engineering, Health, Socio-economic, Cultural and Business-related aspects of water research, we address key challenges for a changing world.

Key areas include:

Adaptation and resilience - science for a changing environment: Freshwater systems are among the most endangered habitats in the world due to development, pollution and climate change.

Water security: too much, too little, too dirty: The global population faces significant water security threats related to: water supply, water pollution, wastewater removal, sanitation and associated ill health and the socio-economic impacts of droughts and floods.

Research that matters - local solutions, global context: Our research is essential to sustainably manage the supply and use of water, provide a healthy environment and enhance resilience of ecosystems and people to water-related risks in a changing world (e.g. more extreme droughts and floods).

"Billions of people world-wide are confronted with serious water related challenges including water scarcity, poor quality, lack of sanitation facilities and water related disasters such as floods and droughts."


David Hannah

David Hannah

Professor of Hydrology, Holder of the UNESCO Chair in Water Science

Discover More

  • Global Goals: Clean water and sanitation

    Sustainable desalination and smart sensors for water leak detection are just two University of Birmingham research projects which are bringing innovation to the areas covered by this Global Goal.

  • World Water Day

    The Birmingham Water Council and the Institute of Global Innovation welcome you to celebrate World Water Day annually at the University.

  • Birmingham Heroes: Water Crisis

    This research is helping to raise understanding of the patterns and causes of water availability and to reduce uncertainty allowing better projections of what is likely to happen in future and for places for which we have no (or limited) data.

  • Water Engineering research

    We focus on experimental and numerical approaches to address the challenges which we face in managing water security and resource efficiency and the associated links with energy management.

  • Leadership: UNESCO Chair in Water Science

    Access to portable water is a key requirement for human health, prosperity and security.

  • Training the next generation of Water Researchers

    The Catchment Science Summer School provides a hands-on experience for PhD researchers and post-docs in the field, as well opportunities for professional networking.

  • Key staff

    Find out about our researchers who work collaboratively within this field.

  • Policy Experts

    University of Birmingham researchers and academic experts are working across all major policy areas, this guide aims to enable policy makers to contact researchers quickly and efficiently.

  • Media Experts

    The University of Birmingham is one of the UK's leading universities for research and can offer expertise to the media on many different subjects.