Skip to main content

Dr Muhammad Afzal


School of Earth and Ocean Sciences

+44 (0)29 2087 0623
Room 0.01, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3AT
Available for postgraduate supervision

I am hydro climatologist by training, I have been involved a number of research projects including NERC “Drought Risk and You”, Newton Fund Project “Climate Change, Water Resources and Food Security in Kazakhstan" and EU "Water4Crops". My research specializes in the analysis of the impacts of climate change and variability on hydrological and water resource systems examining recent trends and future projections and their impacts on food security and drought risks using the hydrological & crop modelling approach. Before joining the current position, I worked at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Wallingford Oxfordshire as a “Hydrological Modeller and Water Resources Management Scientist”.

I completed my BSc and MSc from Pakistan in the natural sciences. In 2005, I moved to Scotland where I completed my MSc in Environmental Science and Ph.D. in hydro-climatology from Scotland where my Ph.D. thesis was on "Changes in climate variability in Scotland and its effect on the reliability of water supply systems". In October 2014, I joined Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Wallingford, Before joining University of Reading, Muhammad Afzal worked for the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford.  As a hydrological & crop modeller, I was involved in two research projects. The first project “water4crops, (  where I was responsible for acquiring data from field experiments, quality controlling the data, organizing the data in the right format for SALTMED model application, applying the model, conducting the analysis and reporting and presenting results. This research work led to a paper published in the Journal of Agricultural Water Management. During this period, I have also been invited to give various presentations on SALTMED model and its applications. This project covered a wide range of areas such as irrigation management, soil, crop-water-fertilizers management, and soil-water-plant relations. Using the models, I assessed the model performance against the observed data (e.g. river flows, soil moisture, soil salinity, crop yield, etc.).

In September 2015 I joined University of Reading as a Post Doctorate Research Fellow on the Newton Fund project ( This project aimed to examine and predict the impacts of climate variability on water resources including seasonal snow and glaciers and crop production in Kazakhstan using the regional climate models, land surface, hydrological and crop models; meteorological, hydrological and soil moisture data from existing and established observation networks. I was responsible for hydrological modelling (using HBV-ETH model) and crop modelling (SALTMED model) under current and future climate scenarios. I was also responsible for preparing the data-sets and running the selected hydrological and crop models to find the effect of future climatic variability on food security in the region. In this project my responsibilities included statistical analysis of observational hydrological data, bias correction of climate data derived from RCM simulations modelling streamflow in glaciated catchments using HBV-ETH model for the recent past and for the future climate scenarios, running crop model SALTMED. Other responsibilities included participation in project meetings, communication with other PDRAs including those working in Kazakhstan and participation in stakeholder engagement.

In October 2017, I joined Centre for Ecology and Hydrology as a hydrological modeller and Water Resources Management Scientist where i worked until the end of March 2019. As a hydrological modeller and water resources management Scientist, I was mainly involved in Drought Risk Management (  This project involves seven study catchments across the UK. I have a responsibility to calibrate and validate the catchment Scale model (DiCaSM) using streamflow observations of the catchments, assess the impact of future climate change (up to 2099) as well as the impact of land use changes on water resources and identify the gap between future water demand and water supply. I addition to this, I was also UPSCAPE research project ( which aims to improve the understanding of how small-scale anthropogenic drivers of change cumulatively impact on water availability at the basin scale.

Honours and awards

  • - Travel grant funded by the British Council to participate in a workshop on “attend Ecosystem services workshop at Florianopolis, Brazil Jan 2019”.
  • - Travel grant funded by UWE, UK to present research work at EGU, European Geo-Sciences Union General Assembly 2018.
  • - Travel grant funded by University of Reading, UK to present research work at EGU, European Geo-Sciences Union General Assembly 2017.
  • - Travel grant funded by the British Council to provide training on hydrological/crop modelling at Embrapa, Brazilian Agriculture Research Centre, Corumba in April 2017
  • - Travel grant funded by the British Council to participate in Newton fund workshop on Climate and Landscape Change in the Pantanal: assessing environmental vulnerabilities and future water security in Brazil's wetland wilderness, August 2016
  • - Travel grant funded by the British Council to participate in Newton Fund workshop “Climate Change, Water Resources and Food Security in Kazakhstan, Feb 2015

Professional memberships

- International Water Association

- Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment

Academic positions

- Hydrological modeller and Water Resources Management Scientist, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB (October 2017-March 2019).

- Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, University of Reading, UK (September 2015-September 2017).

- Hydrological modeller, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Wallingford, Oxfordshire, OX10 8BB ( October 2014 - September 2015).

Speaking engagements

  • Poster presentation at European Geo-Sciences Union Summit, Vienna, Austria, April 2018.
  • Invited international seminar on integrated hydrological modelling at Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, Pakistan December 2017.
  • Invited research talk on modelling of glaciated catchments at Kazakh Hydromet Almaty, and Institute of Geography, Kazakhstan June 2017.
  • Poster presentation at European Geo-Sciences Union Summit, Vienna, Austria, April 2017.
  • Invited research talk on hydrological modelling at Federal University Campo Grande, Brazil April 2017.
  • Research training on crop modelling at Embrapa Corumba, Brazil, April 2017.
  • Research talk on energy-water nexus at Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan, August 2016.
  • Invited Research talk on SALTMED crop modelling at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan January 2016.
  • Participation and presentation at Agriculture Innovation Conference at Crop for the Future, Malaysia, March 2016.
  • Invited research talk on hydrological modelling in Almaty, Kazakhstan, February 2015.
  • Research talk at Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR), Facing the Future 2013, University of Dundee, April 2013.
  • Live on air discussion on extreme flood events in South Asia, Aug 2011, Voice of America, USA

Committees and reviewing

  • - International Journal of Hydrology
  • - Journal of Water and Agricultural water management
  • - MDPI Water Journal, Energies Journal, and Climate Journal
  • - Environmental Policy Journal
  • - Journal of Water and Climate Change





- Water in the environment

Research interests:

- Hydrological modelling (Conceptual Hydrological Models, physical based hydrological models, glaciated catchment models, HBV-ETH model).

- Climate change adaptation in the water sector.

- Crop modelling and water use efficiency in the agriculture sector.

- Climate Modelling (UKCP09, PRECIS regional climate model).

In the past, I worked with a number of research collaborators including:

- Regulatory bodies: E.A. Environmental Agency and SEPA, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Wales

- Water Bodies:  Scottish Water, Welsh Water, Thames Water, Yorkshire Water

- International academic/research institutes: Embrapa (Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation), LMU, Munich, Nazarbayev University Kazakhstan, Crops for Future Malaysia and Institute of Geography, Kazakhstan.

Past projects

- M.Sc Co-supervisor with Professor Nigel Arnell to supervise an MSc student who worked on the "impacts of climate change on heatwaves in Bangladesh".