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Water in a changing world

Understanding the impact of climate and socioeconomic change on water and the environment.

Key contacts

Professor Michael Singer

Professor Michael Singer

Deputy Director of the Water Research Institute

+44 (0)29 2087 6257
Dr Michaela Bray

Dr Michaela Bray

Lecturer - Teaching and Research

+44 (0)29 0287 0907
Dr Adrian Healy

Dr Adrian Healy

Principal Research Fellow

+44 (0)29 2087 4281


We live in a changing world, which is especially pronounced in the hydrosphere. Floods, droughts, poor water quality, disparities in regional access to water - these are all great environmental challenges for societies and ecosystems, and they are being exacerbated and complicated by a changing climate. Intertwined with these are a range of socioeconomic and political drivers such as population growth, increased urbanisation, land conversion, industrialization, which create immense challenges for solving water-related environmental problems that affect human society and ecosystems.

In this theme, our broad interdisciplinary team of researchers work in various countries and environments to answer questions including:

  • How can we ensure access to sufficient water supplies of clean water for people (UN Sustainable Development Goal 6) and ecosystems?
  • How will this access be affected by climate change and anthropogenic pressures?
  • How can we co-develop solutions with stakeholders for climate adaptation and societal resilience to extreme weather events, a shifting climate, and associated changes in the hydrosphere?
Prof Isabelle Durance during the Water Research Institute's visit to the University of Namibia for the Phoenix Waters project. ©PaulCrompton

Current initiatives

Find out more about our ongoing research activities:



A collaborative EU project to improve climate change resilience and tackle food and water insecurity in the Horn of Africa drylands.


'Every living thing': The nexus of cultural and economic values within resilient urban water systems

An interdisciplinary project to strengthen the resilience of urban water systems in Hargeisa, Somaliland.


Groundwater access in urban Africa

We are currently undertaking a series of activities on groundwater access in urban Africa.

A dry Namibian landscape

Phoenix Waters

Working together to meet the water research needs of the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa.


Workshops on Extremal Trends in Weather (WET Weather)

Join us for our 2022 Workshop on Extremal Trends (WET) in weather to discuss data and methods for understanding rare and hazardous events in a warming climate.

PhD projects

Does riparian woodland increase the resilience of stream ecosystems to floods and droughts?

  • Student: Fiona Joyce
  • Lead supervisor: Ian Vaughan
  • Partners: Forest Research and Woodland Trust

Flood modelling in the Severn Valley

Understanding the evolution of riparian forests in Arizona

Improving estimates of land evapotranspiration

Detection of forest water stress due to climate change in drought-prone regions of the Southwestern USA

Past initiatives


Welsh Water Resilience Study

This study identified emerging resilience challenges in the water sector to better inform Welsh Water’s strategy.

Related webinars

'The human right to water and the urban water challenge, Perspectives from Sub-Saharan Africa' by Dr Adrian Healy

Watch 'The human right to water and the urban water challenge - Perspectives from Sub-Saharan Africa' by Dr Adrian Healy

'Global challenges of water security under the influence of climate change' by Dr Michael Singer

Watch 'Global challenges of water security under the influence of climate change' by Dr Michael Singer

Theme members