Water and Environmental Engineering

Hydrology investigates water movement in the landscape.

Human activity has a significant impact on the global water cycle. Snow packs are declining and flood patterns are changing as a result of human induced climate change, aquifer storages are shrinking due to excessive groundwater pumping, river flow regimes are distorted due to dams, reservoirs and agricultural abstractions, and groundwater recharge is altering due to changes in urbanization and deforestation. The combined impact of an altered, dwindling resource base and growing demand is reducing water security in many regions of the world. At the same time, a warming climate will exhibit more hydro-meteorological extremes and more variability, leading to changing patterns in natural hazards and freshwater distribution.

The Water and Environmental Engineering research group focuses on developing the theory and tools needed to address the complex issue of water security in a changing world. The group consists of a multidisciplinary team of engineers and scientists who combine process understanding, mathematical modelling, novel monitoring approaches and engineering principles to solve societal water problems. New approaches and methods are necessary in a world that is less likely to be threatened by armed conflict than by population growth, climate change, water shortages and pollution, as well as poverty and rising food prices.

The societal need for understanding the water cycle and for innovative solutions to manage it for water security in a changing world has never been greater than today.

Thorsten Wagener, Head of Group
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