Student Profile: Mari Joins Okavango Field Project

Following the previous post on the Okavango field project, we’re introducing Mari, one of our mix of BA, BSc, MSc students joining the trip. We’ll be featuring more stories from student and from the field so keep checking on our blog as well as twitter @ KingsWaterKCL !

” I am a final year BA geography student from West Wales graduating this July. I have spent the majority of my three years at King’s trying to find a balance between the human and physical disciplines of the subject. My interests lie in the meeting point of social-political dynamics and the physical conditions they are situated within. I have particularly enjoyed the various political ecology and related modules available at King’s to further this interest.

Throughout my three years here I have found a real passion for research, particularly in the developing country context. Previous studies I have been involved in have included fieldwork in Kerala, India in the second year; as well as a self organised Royal Geographical Society part-funded research trip to Napo in Ecuador to collect dissertation data. These experiences of international research have provided me with valuable experiences of research and other cultures.


My trip to the Okavango is funded by the King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (KURF) under the guidance of Dr. Naho Mirumachi.  It presents a final opportunity to get involved in an interdisciplinary study at King’s and hope to further my research experience with fieldwork in Okavango, Botswana.

I hope to better understand the dynamics of the river delta, including the socio-political structures that influence the river itself as well as development in the region. I also hope to benefit from working within an academic team, as well as in collaboration with students and lecturers from other universities across the world (Australia and the US) within the PLuSAlliance. Hopefully this fieldwork will result in the creation of a new truly interdisciplinary module for future students at King’s – something that I believe is vital to our subject. “

Setting off: Okavango field project for interdisciplinary learning

This month, King’s Water staff and students will travel to the Okavango delta in Botswana for an interdisciplinary project on river sustainability.  As part of the Global River Basins Connections project funded by the PLuS Alliance, a network between Kings, Univ of New South Wales and Arizona State Univ, this trip aims to enhance experiential learning on key issues of river basin management, water cooperation and conflict and human-ecosystem dependence.

The Okavango delta is a significant biodiversity hotspot as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The management of the river requires international cooperation with the river being shared between Botswana, Namibia and Angola.  This basin has also recently experienced drought, making the question of sustainability even more pressing.


Students from the three universities will working together to practise various field sampling, survey skills and monitoring methods to understand the river and terrestrial environment as well as enhance their knowledge of river basin governance, development and geopolitics in this  transboundary setting.

From King’s Water, Dr Mike Chadwick, Dr Naho Mirumachi and Dr Emma Tebbs coordinates this trip to pilot an interdisciplinary fieldwork module for the Geography Department.  Six undergraduate and master’s students from the department have been selected on a competitive basis to join this trip.


Video summary: King’s Water colleagues speak at St Paul’s Cathedral

Last month, King’s Water co-convened an event on water politics at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral.  This event was part of JustWater, a series of activities by St Paul’s Institute to raise awareness about water issues.


(Photo credit: Graham Lacdao)

From King’s Water, Dr Naho Mirumachi spoke about the socio-economics and political power asymmetries that determine water use rather than the climate or hydrology.  Prof Tony Allan spoke about the critical role of farmers and consumers in ensuring water stewardship when food production is so dependant on managing water well.

The video of the event can be seen here.


King’s Water at St Paul’s Cathedral

King’s Water and St Paul’s Institute are hosting an event on water politics at the iconic St Paul’s Cathedral.

From King’s Water, Dr Naho Mirumachi and Prof Tony Allan will be joining the debate.

This free event will take place 6:30-8:00 pm on Monday 19 June and is open to the general public.  Speakers will discuss the contentions as well as transformative potential of water management and stewardship, touching upon issues of geopolitics, climate, food and more.  This event is part of an initiative, ‘Just Water’ to raise awareness and activism around water.

Register here:

Water Politics event flyer social media image

Spotlight on the MSc Water: Science and Governance programme


The MSc Water: Science and Governance programme draws on the university’s leading reputation in water research to equip students with advanced interdisciplinary training to tackle the contemporary challenges of diverse water environments around the world.

Combined with international research excellence in water science, policy and politics, the programme offers a unique learning experience as well as access to a range of professional networks which include government, industry and NGO sectors.  From academic year 2017-18, this programme will also incorporate the former MSc Aquatic Resource Management making it deeply rooted in King’s College London’s long-standing experience and expertise in providing in-depth fundamental and applied training in freshwater and estuarine science and management.

Students benefit from lectures, seminars, lab and field sessions informed by cutting-edge insights from King’s Water research spearheaded by 12 staff.  Key features of the MSc programme include a residential field trip in Shropshire and Wales, guest talks by leading scientists and professionals, weekly research seminars, internships and dissertation placement.  The London location also offers excellent opportunities for professional networking.  This year, students have attended meetings co-hosted by King’s Water and International Commission on Irrigation & Drainage, the British Ecological Society, the Institute for Fisheries Management; started internships with WWF-UK, at Harvard; and will take part in an interdisciplinary field project in the Okavango River basin, Botswana.

Applications for 2017-18 entry can be found here.


Students enjoying a meal with MSc Water alumna currently working in the water utility sector

Students enjoying a meal with MSc Water alumna currently working in the water utility sector


King’s Water workshop: Developing synergies and networks

King’s Water hosted a workshop on 28 Oct 2015 to develop synergies and networks with internal and external institutions.  This interdisciplinary workshop was designed to explore potential questions, topics and themes that might bring together colleagues and to start new conversations and pilot projects.  The workshop also included a session for PhD students to brainstorm ideas to complement their ongoing research.

The event offered an opportunity for Masters, PhD, Post-docs and staff to get together.  A short proceedings of the workshop will follow shortly.



PhD student network

  • Meet and Greet/Introductions, with a special welcome for new PhD students
  • Strategies for Improving King’s Water Web Content
  • Reading Group focused on strengthening relationships between physical and social geographies

    King's Water PhD Network

    King’s Water PhD students brainstorm research and outreach projects on 28 October

  • Intrepid Methods Workshop, a proposed partnership between King’s Water and Intrepid Explorers to showcase the types of methods/fieldworks undergrad and masters students might engage with for their dissertations





Nic Bury speaking at King's Water Event

Professor Nic Bury shares research insights and a call to interdisciplinarity at the King’s Water Event on 28 October 2015

Aquatic ecotoxicology and environmental monitoring
Speaker: Dr Nic Bury, Faculty of Life Science & Medicine
Discussant: Dr Mike Chadwick, Department of Geography

Groundwater governance & poverty
Speaker: Dr Luke Whaley, Post-doc researcher KCL/Sheffield
Discussants: Dr Emma Tebbs, Rebecca Peters, Department of Geography



The evening concluded with a wine reception, allowing students and staff to share insights and further ideas for collaboration.

All on board at the World Water Congress: students, staff, research associates and alumni of King’s Water present their work in Edinburgh


King’s Water had a strong presence at the XVth World Water Congress in Edinburgh during the week of 25-29 May. Students, staff, research associates and alumni presented their papers, convened special sessions and took part in roundtable discussions:

Martin Keulertz , Research Associate, Tony Allan, Emeritus Professor, and Mark Mulligan, Reader in Geography, kicked off debate on global food and water supply chain investment and trade during a special session on ‘Food and water security: New actors in the global water trade’. Mark went to on speak on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessments at a special session hosted by the James Hutton Institute and UNESCO.

Kris Chan, PhD student, presented his latest work on ‘Re-evaluating the environmental impacts of hydroelectric dams in Southeast Asia: Indirect impacts through livelihood alternation’ and did a joint presentation with Naho Mirumachi, lecturer, on ‘Measurements, meanings and modernity: Understanding impacts of hydropower development’. Naho also convened a two part special session with colleagues from University of Arizona and the London Water Research Group on ‘Questioning water governance: From concepts to practice’ and ‘Levelling players and context: Re-examining policy for transboundary water allocation and governance. She also spoke about the law and politics of scientific data and information sharing within a transboundary water setting for a roundtable on ‘Incorporating the science evidence base into water policy and law – catchment, national and transboundary challenges and perspectives’.

Regina Buono, a graduate of the MSc Water: Science and Governance programme presented her work she is doing now at the Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University. Her paper ‘A new frontier in Texas? Managing and regulating brackish groundwater’ analysed the legal aspects and policy development of this potential freshwater source.

See more details of the conference at

Deadlines approaching: Funding for postgraduate study at the Geography Department

The deadline for various funding schemes for Master’s level study at the Department of Geography are at the end of this month. Staff and students of the King’s Water community contribute to five MSc/MA programmes, including MSc Aquatic Resource Management, MSc Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Management, MSc Water: Science and Governance and MA/MSc Risk Analysis. Funding available for these programmes are:

The Department bursaries: two bursaries of £1,000 each for UK/EU students and another two bursaries £2,000 each for Overseas students  [deadline 31 May]

The King’s College London-Accenture Scholarship in MSc Water: Science & Governance: tuition fees for academic year 2015-16 for one full-time Home/EU student.  In addition, the student receiving the scholarship will work on a dissertation project with the Resources Group at Accenture, based in London.  [deadline 31 May 2015 1700 GMT]

King’s Master’s support scheme 2015-16: 273 new awards of £10,000 to eligible candidates. These awards are exclusively aimed at widening access to postgraduate study and are joint-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFCE) and King’s. [deadline 29th May 2015 16:00 BST]


Exploring Jordanian water issues with the RGS Geographical Fieldwork Grants

MSc Water: Science and Governance student, Laura Mapstone-Scott has won this year’s RGS Geographical Fieldwork Grants.  Her project is on ‘Mainstreaming gender equity into water projects in Syrian refugee host communities in Jordan‘.  This dissertation project will conduct an integrated gender analysis of water access and management in Syrian refugee host communities (urban Jordanian towns housing a high percentage of refugees) to inform a three-year Oxfam project to rehabilitate WASH infrastructure in the Zarqa governorate. The assessment will use ethnographic interviews, focus groups and questionnaires with stakeholders to examine how water is owned, managed and distributed by water users in these areas.  Laura is now in Jordan and the grant will enable her to do extensive fieldwork over the next couple of months.

Congratulations, Laura!

Naho Mirumachi on “Reinventing Peace”

Dr Naho Mirumachi was invited last month to a workshop at Tufts University to speak about water and security.  The meeting was hosted by the World Peace Foundation, Center for International Environment and Resource Policy and Water Diplomacy Program, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a summary of the public panel session can be found here.

Following the workshop, Naho wrote an article titled ‘Wicked problems, messy analysis, clumsy solutions? What we need to think about when we talk about water cooperation‘ for the World Peace Foundation’s blog, “Reinventing Peace”.