'Systems modelling for integrated urban water management'

Room 311 - School of Geography Earth and Environmental Sciences
Life and Environmental Sciences, Research
Tuesday 14th November 2017 (16:00-17:00)
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Part of the Physical Geography Seminar series

Speaker: Ana Mijic from Imperial College London


The rapid urbanisation requires design and construction of supporting infrastructures, and generates huge demand for natural resources. Due to limited production within urban cells, this demand is predominantly satisfied by extraneous supply from rural or suburban areas, which generates transboundary flows. Urban agglomerations become nodes of these fluxes, and connect with each other, forming nexuses on large spatial scales. Therefore, in order to evaluate the sustainability and reliance of urban infrastructure within these nexuses, a holistic and systematic approach is required to quantify these fluxes. This study focuses on the water sector and assessment of self-reliance of urban water infrastructure and human wellbeing in terms of water availability. A novel spatially distributed water balance model is developed that can simulate both urban and rural hydrological cycles.

The results showed that in the hypothetical case a reliable water supply requires a combination of centralised and decentralised systems. The simulations also captured the urban-rural interactions and competition between indoor and agricultural water use during water stress conditions, which are highly likely under future urbanisation scenarios. The model was then applied to analyse the water security of Patna in India. As already confirmed by the literature, the simulated water supply for the city proved to be sufficient under current conditions. Under future climate change scenarios, most agricultural areas became exposed to water stress, with lesser effect on cities. Irrigation practices and the vegetation type have shown to affect the extent of the future change. Urbanisation in Patna accelerated the decrease in groundwater levels for the water supply, while the expansion of the pipe system resulted in water stress conditions for urban indoor water use. The assessment of the transboundary flows has shown the necessity to analyse rural-urban interactions in order to create transition pathways towards water sustainability.

Dr Ana Mijic 

Dr Ana Mijic is a Senior Lecturer in Urban Water Management in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Imperial College London. She has a first class degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. Before commencing her MSc, Ana worked at the same University as a teaching assistant in Fluid Mechanics and Hydrometry. She obtained a masters degree with distinction in Hydrology for Environmental Management from Imperial College London in 2009 and a PhD in Earth Science and Engineering from the same university in 2013. 

Ana’s research interests are focused on integrated modelling and full-scale experiments to develop water management strategies for sustainable development. Ana is leading the IAHS Panta Rhei programme Working Group on Energy and Food Impacts on Water. She is also leading the Imperial College London initiative, together with the British Geological Survey, University of Birmingham and Atkins, through the Centre for Research and Innovation, to address the issue of groundwater infiltration into urban infrastructure.