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Digital solutions for water risk management

Integrating sensors, data science, modelling, citizen science and data-human interfaces to manage risks to water resources and ecosystems.

Key contacts

Dr Liz Bagshaw

Dr Liz Bagshaw

Senior Lecturer

+44 (0)29 2087 4488
Dr Tom Beach

Dr Tom Beach

Reader in Construction Informatics

+44 (0)29 2087 5796
Professor Owen Jones

Professor Owen Jones

Chair in Operational Research

029 2251 0253


Autonomous sensors, the Internet of Things, data science, and citizen science are all changing the way we interact with the world around us. They open new avenues in the management of freshwater resources using innovative digital approaches. This thematic research aims to improve how we manage freshwater across different scales, from individual domestic water users to large businesses, and from natural ecosystems to man-made water systems.

This group of researchers is particularly interested in the development of "Digital twins" of the natural environment and man-made infrastructure, that offer new solutions and early warning systems for water risk management. Importantly, our approach is interdisciplinary, acknowledging the sometimes competing needs of the diverse array of actors that interact with freshwater systems, whether individuals, societies or wildlife.

We work together to develop these new digital tools around core research questions:

  • Digital water bodies: how do we integrate sensors, models, and data visualisation tools into how we perceive and manage water resources?
  • Digital water infrastructure: what does the advent of smart meters and online tools mean for water and wastewater treatment systems, water distribution networks and customer behaviours?
  • Digital water ecosystems: how can new tools (e.g. eDNA/omics, automated image analysis ) and the data they generate contribute to rapid and low cost monitoring and diagnosis of freshwater ecosystems?
  • Data science: How can we leverage machine learning and optimisation algorithms to better analyze and manage water resources.
  • Citizen science: how can private citizens, special interest groups, and professionals generate data and use new digital tools to participate in the stewardship of our shared waters?


Find out more about our research activities:

Watch the video about the Cryoegg technology

  • Cryoegg and hydrobean - sensors for glaciers and rivers
  • WISDOM Project (now finished) - Water Analytics and Intelligent Sensing for Demand Optimised Management
  • GCRF Catalyst Project - Smart Water Monitoring in Kenya: Deployment of Smart Metering in Kenya, understanding of citizen attitudes to water usage/water savings and understanding of how these attitudes effect realised water usage.
  • eDNA projects -  Monitoring and manageming of Taste and Odour risk in drinking water reservoirs using environmental DNA.
  • Citizen science projects – Water quality monitoring across the Wye catchment.

PhD projects

Using in situ sensors to monitor ecosystem health in freshwater catchments

  • Student: Inge Elfferich
  • Lead supervisor: Liz Bagshaw
  • Partner: Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

Novel technologies for early detection and monitoring of fish pathogens

Bridging ecology and technology: using citizen science and artificial intelligence to track fish health

  • Student: Agnethe Olsen
  • Lead supervisor: Sarah Perkins
  • Partner: The Wye and Usk Foundation

Using environmental DNA to understand the role of connectivity in pond ecosystems

  • Student: Claire Robertson
  • Lead supervisor: Dan Read
  • Partner: Freshwater Habitats Trust

Water quality monitoring via Hydrobean, low-cost wireless sensing network

Theme members