Birmingham Water Council

Water Challenges in a Changing World

Lead: Professor Stefan Krause

The Birmingham Water Council is closely aligned with the five work streams (Water Technologies, Water and Health, Water Resources under Change, Water Pollution and Water Justice and Socioeconomic Consequences) of the Institute of Global Innovation  inaugural theme on Water Challenges in a Changing World that integrate the water-related research across all UoB colleges to improve the preparedness and resilience of socio-economic and environmental systems to globally increasing water challenges (such as drought, flood, water pollution), water-related public and environmental health; and the governance of water to increase security and reduce conflict.

The delivery of water science solutions to global challenges is based on our extensive partnerships with (inter)national Science, Policy, Education, and Private Sector (water, chemical, manufacturing industry) partners as well as International Organisations (e.g. UNESCO, WHO) and NGO’s and hosts the UNESCO Chair in Water Sciences at the University of Birmingham.

Research objectives

The complexity of today’s global water challenges requires interdisciplinary collaboration and transformative approaches across subject boundaries, integrating core-strengths of the physical and environmental sciences, engineering, medical research, arts and humanities, including economics, law and social sciences. Crossing traditional disciplinary boundaries, the Water Council pioneers therefore aims to pioneer and facilitate the development of new research avenues by:

  • Stimulating interdisciplinary research tackling global challenges and development goals
  • Aligning cross-campus water research and enhance synergies between colleges and with local, regional and (inter)national partners
  • Facilitating industry – research partnerships, regionally, in the UK, and globally
  • Shaping (inter)national research strategies in water related fields nationally and internationally
  • Enhancing interdisciplinary in cross-college delivery of water education

Research initiatives

Specific projects include:

  • Water Technology, led by Professor Nigel Cassidy
  • Water and Health, led by Dr Semira Manaseki-Holland
  • Water Resources under Change, led by Professor David Hannah
  • Water Pollution, led by Professor Iseult Lynch
  • Water Justice and Socio-economic Consequences, led by Professor Rob Elliott 
    Over the previous year we have continued to investigate the economic and social implications of a range on interrelated topics on water in developed and less developed countries.  We examine the impact of water and climate change looking at flooding and droughts and the relationship between water and technology (hydropower production and the impact on households, firms and farmers).   A second strand of research considers the impact of flooding and severe weather events on the economies of LDCs linking windfield and river-flow modelling to socio-economic factors and economic and social resilience.

Examples of research projects include:

  • Science for Humanitarian Emergencies & Resilience (SHEAR)                         
  • Understanding hydrometeorological extremes and their impacts on the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands of Vietnam
  • The Groundwater Drought Initiative
  • The burning issue of our climate: wildfire
  • Hydrological Extremes in the Anthropocene
  • Reducing storm-induced contamination risks to water supply infrastructure by Active Fibre-optic Distributed Temperature Sensing
  • Future Secular Changes & Remediation of Groundwater Arsenic in the Ganga River Basin
  • The fate and transport of microplastics in rivers
  • Multi-stressor Interactions
  • Pioneering sensor network & tracer technologies for real-time water quality monitoring

Outputs and impact

Freshwater systems are among the most endangered habitats in the world due to development, pollution and climate change. Thus, our rivers, lakes and wetlands and the functions they provide are at risk.

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)


  • Our work has developed ‘citizen science’ and cultural perspectives to ensure research is relevant and actionable by local communities
  • We are understanding the root causes of how chemicals harm organisms including humans by application of cutting-edge technologies.
  • We have developed solutions to maintain essential natural capital, green infrastructure, biodiversity and ecosystem services for social and economic wellbeing.
  • Birmingham leads the way in ensuring that below-ground infrastructure is for for purpose, now and into the future


The research generated have been use by water managers to support decisions regarding adaptation to climate change, and to manage contamination and water quality problems, It also serve as an inputs for business and governmental organizations to inform on how to prepare and reduce the impact of future flood event. It also informs policy makers on how to improve global greenhouse gas estimates by incorporating emissions from surface waters and freshwater sediments.

Selected Publications


  • Beltran, A., Maddison, D. and Elliott, R. (2019), The Impact of Flooding on Property Prices: A Repeat-Sales Approach. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 95: 62-86.
  • Heinen, A., Khadan, J., and Strobl, E. (2019). “The Price Impact of Extreme Weather in Developing Countries”, The Economic Journal, forthcoming.
  • Skoufias, E., Strobl, E., and Tveit, T. (2019). “Flood and Tsunami Damage Indices Based on Remotely Sensed Data: An Application to Indonesia”, Natural Hazards Review, forthcoming.
  • Qiu, H., Blaen, P. Comer-Warner, S.A., Ullah, S., Hannah, D.M., Krause, S. (2019). Evaluating a Coupled Phenology‐Surface Energy Balance Model to Understand Stream‐Subsurface Temperature Dynamics in a Mixed‐Use Farmland Catchment. Water Resources Research
  • Romeijn, P., Comer-Warner, S.A., Ullah, S., Hannah, D.M., Krause, S. (2019). Streambed Organic Matter Controls on Carbon Dioxide and Methane Emissions from Streams. Environ. Sci. Technol53, 2364–2374.


  • Beltran, A., Maddison, D. and Elliott, R. (2018), Assessing the Economic Benefits of Flood Defenses: A Repeat-Sales Approach. Risk Analysis (DOI:
  • Beltran, A., Maddison, D. and Elliott, R. (2018), Is Flood Risk Capitalised in Property Values? Ecological Economics, 146: 668-685.
  • Cole, M.A., Elliott, R.J.R., Occhiali, G. and Strobl, E. (2018), Power Outages and Firm Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa, Journal of Development Economics, Vol. 134, pp. 150-159.
  • Elliott, R.J.R., Strobl, E. and Tong, M. (2018), The Short-Term Economic Impact of Tropical Cyclones: Satellite Evidence from Guangdong Province, Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Vol. 2, 3, pp. 225-235.
  • Nguyen-Tien, V., Elliott, R.J.R. and Strobl, E. (2018), Hydropower generation, flood control and dam cascades: A national assessment for Vietnam, Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 50, pp. 109-126.
  • Blaen P., Ward A.S., Kurz M.J. Drummond J., Marti E., Knapp J., Zarnetske J. P., Klaar M.J., Hannah D.M., Krause S. (2018). Woody debris is related to reach‐scale hotspots of lowland stream ecosystem respiration under baseflow conditions. Ecohydrology. 2018;e1952.
  • Brown L.E., Khamis K., Wilkes M., Blaen P., Brittain J.E., Carrivick J.L., Fell S., Friberg N., Füreder L., Gislason G.M., Hainie S., Hannah D.M., James W.H.M., Lencioni V., Olafsson J.S., Robinson C.T., Saltveit S.J., Thompson C. and Milner A.M. (2018), Functional diversity and community assembly of river invertebrates show globally consistent responses to decreasing glacier cover, Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2, 325–333 DOI:
  • Comer-Warner S., Romeijn P., Gooddy D.C., Ullah S., Kettridge N., Hannah D.M.Krause S. (2018). Temperature sensitivity of streambed CO2 and CH4 emissions varies with sediment type. Nature Communications, 9 (1) 2801
  • Docherty C.L., Riis T., Hannah D.M., Rosenhøj Leth S. and Milner A.M. (2018), Controls on nutrient uptake and limitation dynamics in northeast Greenland streams, Polar Research, Art.No. 1440107
  • Dugdale S.J., Malcolm I.A., Kantola K. and Hannah D.M. (2018), Stream temperatures under contrasting riparian forest cover: an examination of thermal dynamics, microclimates and heat exchanges, Science of the Total Environment610, 1375-1389 DOI:
  • Folegot S., Hannah D.M., Dugdale S.J., Kurz M.J., Drummond J., Klaar M.J., Lee-Cullin J., Keller T., Martí E., Zarnetske J.P., Ward A.S. and Krause S. (2018), Low flow controls on stream thermal dynamics, Limnologica68, 157-167 DOI:
  • Folegot S., Krause S., Mons R., Hannah D.M. and Datry T. (2018), Mesocosm experiments reveal the direction of groundwater-surface water exchange alters the hyporheic refuge capacity, Freshwater Biology63, 165-177 DOI:
  • Hupfer M., Engesgaard P., Jensen H., Krause S., Nützmann G. (2018). Aquatic interfaces and linkages: An emerging topic of interdisciplinary research
  • Jackson F.L., Fryer R.J., Hannah D.M., Millar C.P. and Malcolm I.A. (2018), A spatio-temporal statistical model of maximum daily river temperatures to inform the management of Scotland's Atlantic salmon rivers under climate change, Science of the Total Environment612, 1543-1558, DOI:
  • Khamis K., Bradley C. and Hannah D.M. (2018), Understanding dissolved organic matter dynamics in urban catchments: insights from in-situ fluorescence sensor technology, WIREs Water5, Art.No. e1259 DOI:
  • Loicq P., Moatar F., Jullian Y., Dugdale S.J .and Hannah D.M. (2018), Improving representation of riparian vegetation shading in a regional stream temperature model using LiDAR data, Science of the Total Environment624, 480-490 DOI:
  • Mackay, J. D., Barrand, N. E., Hannah, D. M., Krause, S., Jackson, C. R., Everest, J., Aðalgeirsdóttir, G., and Black, A. R. (2018). Future evolution and uncertainty of river flow regime change in a deglaciating river basin, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
  • Mackay, J. D., Barrand, N. E., Hannah, D. M., Krause, S., Jackson, C. R., Everest, J., and Aðalgeirsdóttir, G. (2018|). Glacio-hydrological melt and runoff modelling: a limits of acceptability framework for model selection, The Cryosphere,
  • Magliozzi C., Grabowski R., Krause S., Packman A., Gianpaolo C. (2018). A multiscale statistical method to identify potential areas of hyporheic exchange for river restoration planning. Environmental Modelling and Software. In print
  • Magliozzi, C., Grabowski, R., Packman, A. I., Krause, S. (2018). Toward a conceptual framework of hyporheic exchange across spatial scales, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,
  • Mao F., Clark J., Buytaert W., Krause S., Hannah D.M. (2018). Water sensor network applications: time to move beyond the technical? Hydrological Processes.32: 2612–2615.
  • Marruedo Arricibita A.I., Dugdale S., Krause S., Hannah D.M., Lewandowski J. (2018). Thermal infrared imaging for detection of relatively warm lacustrine groundwater discharge at the surface of freshwater bodies. Journal of Hydrology, 562, 281-289,
  • Marruedo Arricibita A.I., Krause S., Gomez-Velez J., Hannah D.M. and Lewandowski J. (2018), Mesocosm experiments for identifying hotspots of groundwater up-welling by fibre optic distributed temperature sensing, Hydrological Processes, 32, 185-199 DOI:
  • Paul J.D., Buytaert W., Allen S., Ballesteros-Cánovas J.A., Bhusal J., Cieslik K., Clark J., Dugar S., Hannah D.M., Stoffel M., Dewulf A., Dhital M.R., Liu W., Nayava J.L., Neupane B., Schiller A., Smith P.J. and Supper R. (2018), Citizen science for hydrological risk reduction and resilience building, WIREs Water5, Art.No. e1262 DOI:
  • Pinay G., Bernal S., Abbott B.W., Lupon A., Marti E., Sabater F., Krause S. (2018). Riparian corridors: A new conceptual framework for assessing nitrogen buffering across biomes. Frontiers in Environmental Science. 47 (6)
  • Reiss J., Perkins D., Fussmann K., Krause S., Romeijn P., Robertson A. (2018). Groundwater flooding: Ecosystem structure following and extreme recharge event. Science of the Total Environment. In print.
  • Singh T., Wu L., Gomez-Velez J., Lewandowski J., Hannah D.M., Krause S. (2018). Dynamic Hyporheic Zones: Exploring the Role of Peak-Flow Events on Bedform-induced Hyporheic Exchange. Water Resources Research, in print
  • White J.C., House A., Punchard N., Hannah D.M., Wildings N.A.A. and Wood P.J. (2018), Macroinvertebrate community responses to hydrological controls and groundwater abstraction effects across intermittent and perennial headwater streams, Science of the Total Environment610–611, 1514-1526 DOI:
  • Wu, L., Singh, T., Gomez‐Velez, J. D., Nutzmann, G., Wörman, A., Krause, S., & Lewandowski, J. (2018). Impact of dynamically changing discharge on hyporheic exchange processes under gaining and losing groundwater conditions. Water Resources Research, 54.


  • Baranov V., Milosevic D., Kurz M.J., Zarnetske J.P., Sabater F., Marti E., Robertson A., Brandt T., Sorolla A., Lewandowski J., Krause S. (2017) Effects of helophytes on the response of hyporheic invertebrate communities to experimental inundation. Ecohydrology. 2017;e1857.
  • Blaen P., Brekenfeld N., Comer-Warner S., Krause S. (2017). Multitracer Field Fluorometry: Accounting for Temperature and Turbidity Variability during Stream Tracer Tests. Water Resources Research, 53,
  • Blaen, P. J., K. Khamis, C. Lloyd, S. Comer-Warner, F. Ciocca, R. M. Thomas, A. R. MacKenzie, and S. Krause (2017), High-frequency monitoring of catchment nutrient exports reveals highly variable storm event responses and dynamic source zone activation, J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 122, 2265–2281, doi:
  • Comer S., Krause S., Gooddy D.C., Bennet S. (2017) Opening opportunities for high-resolution isotope analysis - quantification of 15NNO3 and 18ONO3 in Diffusive Equilibrium in Thin–film passive samplers. Analytical Chemistry. 89 (7), pp 4139–4146
  • Docherty C.L., Hannah D.M., Riis T., Rosenhøj Leth S. and Milner A.M. (2017), Large thermo-erosional niche for a river in Northeast Greenland, Polar Science, 14, 83-87
  • Dugdale S.J, Hannah D.M. and Malcolm I.A (2017), River temperature modelling: a review of deterministic approaches and future directions, Earth Science Reviews, 175, 97-113
  • Folegot S., Krause S., Mons R., Hannah D.M., Datry T. (2017). Mesocosm experiments reveal the direction of groundwater–surface water exchange alters the hyporheic refuge capacity under warming scenarios. Freshwater Biol. 2017;00:1–13.
  • Folegot S., Lee-Cullin J., Drummond J., Hannah D.M., Keller T., Klaar M.J., Kurz M.J., Martí E., Zarnetske J.P., Krause S. (2017) Environmental controls on stream micro-thermal dynamics. Limnologica.
  • Garner G., Hannah D.M. and Watts G. (2017), Climate change and water in the UK: recent scientific evidence for past and future change, Progress in Physical Geography, 41, 154-170DOI:
  • Garner G., Malcolm I.A., Sadler J.P. and Hannah D.M. (2017), The role of riparian vegetation density, channel orientation and water velocity in determining river temperature dynamics, Journal of Hydrology, 553, 471-485 DOI:
  • Jackson F.L, Fryer R.J., Hannah D.M. and Malcolm I.A. (2017), Can river temperature models be transferred between catchments?, Hydrology and Earth Systems Science, 21, 4727–4745
  • Jackson F.L., Hannah D.M. Fryer R.J., Millar C.P. and Malcolm I.A. (2017), Development of spatial regression models for predicting summer river temperatures from landscape characteristics: implications for land and fisheries management, Hydrological Processes, 31, 1225-1238 DOI:
  • Krause S., Lewandowski J., Grimm N., Hannah D.M., Pinay G., Turk V., Argerich A., Sabater F., Fleckenstein J., Schmidt C., Battin T., Pfister L., Martí E., Sorolla A., Larned S., Turk V.  (2017) Ecohydrological interfaces as critical hotspots for ecosystem functioning. Water Resources Research. 53, 6359–6376
  • Kurz M.J., Drummond J.D., Martí E., Zarnetske J.P., Lee-Cullin J., Klaar M.J., Folegot S., Keller T., Ward A.S., Fleckenstein J.H., Datry T., Hannah D.M., Krause S. (2017) Impacts of water level on metabolism and transient storage in vegetated lowland rivers - insights from a mesocosm study. JGR-Biogeoscience. 127, doi:
  • Laize C.L.R., Meredith B.C.E., Dunbar M.J. and Hannah D.M. (2017), Climate and basin drivers of seasonal river water temperature dynamics, Hydrology and Earth Systems Science, 21, 3231–3247 DOI:
  • Leonard R., Kettridge N., Devito K.J., Petrone R., Mendoza C., Waddington J.M., Krause S. (2017). Disturbance Impacts on Thermal Hot Spots and Hot Moments at the Peatland-Atmosphere Interface. Geophysical Research Letters. 45.
  • Leonard R., Kettridge N., Krause S., Devito K.J., Granath G., Petrone R., Mendoza C., Waddington J.M. (2017) Peatland bryophyte responses to increased light from black spruce removal. Ecohydrology. 10 :e1804. doi:
  • Mao F., Clark J., Karpouzoglou T., Dewulf A., Buytaert W. and Hannah D. (2017), A conceptual framework for assessing socio-hydrological resilience under change, Hydrology and Earth Systems Science, 21, 3655–3670
  • Marruedo Arricibita AI, Krause S, Gomez-Velez J, Hannah DM, Lewandowski J. (2017) Mesocosm experiments identifying hotspots of groundwater upwelling in a water column by fiber optic distributed temperature sensing. Hydrological Processes.
  • Massei N., Dieppois B., Hannah D.M., Lavers D.A. Fossa M., Laignel, B. and Debret M. (2017), Multi-time-scale hydroclimate dynamics of a regional watershed and links to large-scale atmospheric circulation: application to the Seine River, France, Journal of Hydrology, 546, 262-275 DOI:
  • McDonald K.S., Turk V., Mozetič P., Tinta T., Malfatti F., Hannah D.M., Krause S. (2017), Integrated network modelling to understand microbial mechanisms of particulate organic carbon accumulation in coastal marine systems, Environmental Modelling and Software, 91, Pages: 156-167 DOI:
  • McDonald K.S., Turk V., Tinta T., Malfatti F., Hannah D.M., Krause S. (2017) Integrated network modelling of carbon accumulation and microbial mechanisms in marine ecosystems. Environmental Modelling and Software. 91, 156–167
  • Mellor C.J., Garner G., Milner A.M. and Hannah D.M. (2017), Controls on Arctic, glacier-fed river water temperature, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 62, 499-514 DOI:
  • Milner A.M., Khamis K., Battin T.J., Brittain J.E, Barrand N.E., Fuereder L., Cauvy-Fraunie S., Gíslason G.M., Jacobsen D., Hannah D.M., Hodson A.J., Hood E., Lencioni V., Ólafsson J.S., Robinson C.T., Tranter M. and Brown L.E. (2017), Glacier shrinkage driving global changes in downstream ecosystems, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), 114 (37), 9770–9778 DOI:
  • Shelley, F., Klaar, M., Krause, S., Trimmer M. (2017). Enhanced hyporheic exchange flow around woody debris does not increase nitrate reduction in a sandy streambed. Biogeochemistry. 136: 353.
  • Stagge J.H., Kingston D.G., Tallaksen L.M. and Hannah D.M. (2017), Observed drought indices show increasing divergence across Europe, Scientific Reports, 7, Article number: 14045 DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-14283-2 [Ranked in top-25 Scientific Report papers in 2017: – 17th for EarthScience out of 1,500 articles -]
  • Weatherill J.J., Atashgahi S., Schneidewind U., Krause S., Ullah S., Cassidy N., Rivett M.O. (2017). Natural attenuation of chlorinated ethenes in hyporheic zones: A review of key biogeochemical processes and in-situ transformation potential, Water Research, 128, 362-382,
  • White J.C., Hannah D.M., House A., Beatson S.J.V., Martin A. and Wood P.J. (2017), Macroinvertebrate responses to flow and thermal variability across regulated and non-regulated rivers, Ecohydrology, 10, article e1773 DOI:
  • Zulkafli Z., Perez K., Vitoloa C., Buytaert W., Karpouzoglouf T., Dewulff A., De Bièvre B., Clark J., Hannah D.M. and Shaheed S. (2017), User-driven design of decision support systems for polycentric environmental resources management, Environmental Modelling and Software, 88, 58-73DOI:

Partners, organizations and funders

Our research is being funded by NERC, the Royal Society, the Institute for Global Innovation, Horizon 2020, UKRI, and the Leverhulme Trust.

Current projects include: