About King's Water

King's Water an interdisciplinary group that works on the biophysical, political, socio-economic, developmental and institutional aspects of water resources and their management. Our work is international, with ongoing projects in Tanzania, Brunei, the Mekong, the Andes, the Amazon, the Middle East, and elsewhere. In addition to the development of the concept of virtual (embedded) water, we have led the development of transboundary water politics analysis, water governance, aquatic resources and sophisticated spatial policy support systems for water resource and ecosystem service assessment.

King’s College Team Records Ecology of the Tidal River Thames

In early November, a team of 30 volunteers from King’s College and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) undertook a unique and exciting survey on the bed of the River Thames near Richmond.

Armed with only tapemeasures and quadrats, our group made recordings of over 3600 benthic organisms and their habitat over a 2 day period. It was an intensive and often strenuous effort made to better understand population dynamics of invasive and native mussels in the Thames. Further, a sorely needed expansion to ecological knowledge in this typically inaccessible section of the tidal river.

Uniquely, the Port of London Authority (PLA) had permitted our access to the foreshore during an artificial drawdown of the river. Here, maintenance work on an upstream weir had locked the outgoing freshwater tide upstream: resulting with a window of opportunity where almost the entire Thames bed was exposed for us to survey (See Picture).

Thames

Photo Credit: Eleanore Heasley

Despite the cold starts and the frequent threat of rain, our memorable Kings College team contributed hugely to the data collected, now to be shared with ZSL for an upcoming report. Among many highlights, our work suggested that in terms of individuals, 97% of all recorded mussels were invasive, rather than native species in this section of the Thames. With mussels often being such an important component to freshwater communities, seeing such alien varieties so dominant is arguably of great environmental concern. Much is now left open for future research in this area of the Thames.

Particular thanks for such a great few days go to our ZSL partners but also the KCL team: Gemma Borelli, Nathan Goldstein, Claudia Gutierrez, Eleanore Heasley, Giacomo Moretti, Bruce Main, Mike Chadwick, Anna Lavelle, Eleri Pritchard, Richard Mason and Harry Sanders. As always, the debrief in the pub was a pleasure! -Daniel Mills, Kings College London

PhD Researcher Profile: Pratik Mishra

‘What can the study of informal and subversive practices by which peri-urban farmers lay claim to urban-oriented water flows in drinking and waste-water canals tell us about the equity and justice dimensions of urbanization in growing Indian cities?’

‘How do notions of honor attached to agricultural land interact with its market-determined value to create a context of exchange where different ‘regimes of value’ coexist?’

‘Why do countries with similar economic backgrounds end up with different levels of alcohol consumption per capita and different mixes of beer, wine and spirits up to the present day?’

 

These are three different questions that Pratik Mishra has committed his time to answering over the last 2 years before he joined King’s as a PhD researcher in Human Geography, basing his research more or less around the first question.

IMG_20151129_142241

Pratik Mishra is from Bhubaneswar, a city on the east coast of India. He completed his Bachelors in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Tuljapur and his Masters in Sustainable Development Practice from TERI University, New Delhi. Though he has held no prior position that would strictly count as a job, he worked on a number of internships and his ethnographic rural field research experience would make for around 15 months cumulatively. In a subtle incremental way, this experience has helped him quite a lot in knowing the right questions to ask and negotiating research in completely new villages looking out of place with a backpack and a notepad (though he still remains quite afraid of stray dogs which is a significant occupational hazard in his line of work!)

Pratik’s project will explore the ways in which canals meant to serve the urban metabolism do not constitute inert flows as they make their way through ‘conduit’ peri-urban villages serving variously as sites of seepage, irrigation, theft, conflict, street-level bureaucracy, etc. The canals that represent rural-urban flows of water come to signify a relationship between the urban and its periphery that might be expropriative or otherwise, but of course in a much more nuanced sense. He hopes that his research will be able to intersect and provide new insights in literatures on Southern Urbanism, Water Politics and Institutions, and Urban Political Ecology. Given that social research on urban metabolism bringing out all the lopsided design, institution and politics will always have as its baseline motive and reality the human suffering that is a shameful consequence of it all, he aspires to not lose track of that all too human reality in situating his work around infrastructures. In that direction, narrative ethnographies on the borderlines of literary non-fiction are a thing of great fascination for him.

He received PGR funding from the Graduate School for his research. His Lead Supervisor is Dr. Alex Loftus.

Pratik’s three Water Words:

Network

 

                                    Norms

 

                                                                        Non-neutral

 

For more about research opportunities with King’s Water, check out our website. To keep up to date, follow us on Twitter!

XVI World Water Congress

Four King’s Water doctoral researchers have just completed an interdisciplinary methods experiment in the Yucatan Peninsula. The trip included presentations at the XVI World Water Congress and the formation of a new institutional partnership with CICY, the Centre for the Scientific Study of the Yucatan.

King's Cancun team with CICY students  Continue reading

Upcoming Seminar: Dar Si Hmad at Oxford

PhD researcher Becca Farnum will be speaking with representatives from her Moroccan research partner Dar Si Hmad at ZSL’s Conservation Optimism Summit for Earth Day 2017. While in the UK, the Environmental Youth Ambassadors will be giving an academic seminar at the University of Oxford exploring Fog, Education, and Resilience in Morocco.

Dar Si Hmad is a local NGO promoting sustainable livelihoods in Southwest Morocco. Their innovative fog-harvesting system, which recently won the UNFCCC Momentum for Change Award at COP22, supplies rural communities with potable water for household use as well as reforestation and community garden projects. The Environmental Youth Ambassadors programme trains urban youth in journalism and education to bridge the gap between city and countryside. EYAs support the Water School, bringing environmental STEM education to marginalised communities in Ait Baamrane.

fog nets w logoIn this special seminar, representatives from Dar Si Hmad will share the technology of fog-harvesting, highlight local interventions for women’s empowerment and children’s learning, and talk about how this local case study is shaped by and can inform wider narratives of development, water security, and community resilience. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with a model of CloudFisher technology, view short environmental films produced by Moroccan young people, and participate in new videos being created to support the Water School.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, please see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fog-education-and-resilience-in-morocco-tickets-33655117362.

Please contact Rebecca Farnum (rebecca.farnum@kcl.ac.uk) with any questions.

Event this Friday: Swamps and Agricultural Drainage

The last Environmental Dynamics Seminar of the year will take place this Friday from 17:15-18:15 in the Pyramid Room (K4U.04).

Dr Stephanie Evers from Liverpool John Moores University will be talking about how tropical peat swamps are being impacted by drainage for agriculture and whether sustainable development of tropical peatlands is possible.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception in the department. The event is free and open to the public.

 

Friday peatland seminar flyer

King’s Water undergraduate research placements

King’s College London is a research-led and student-centred university. The calibre of our research and teaching is among the very best in the world. It is our belief that our students should be involved in the cutting-edge research that makes King’s the university that it is today. King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowships give undergraduate students the unique opportunity to learn alongside leading academics. This year, King’s Water is proud to announce that several of the KRUF positions are for placements with our staff.

Continue reading

This Friday: Natural Hazards

This week’s Environmental Dynamics Seminar is on Friday from 17:15-18:15 in the Pyramid Room (K4U.04). The seminar will be different than previously scheduled and focusses on two different approaches to studying natural hazards:

Dr Silvia De Angeli (Postgraduate Research Intern (ERASMUS) in KCL Geography working with Bruce Malamud) will be talking about her work on multiple hazard interactions in the built environment which feeds into the RASOR project – a platform to perform multi-hazard risk analysis to support disaster management.

Dr Annette Witt (Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Germany) will be talking to us about fluctuations in the number of palaeofloods in the Alps during the Pleistocene.

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception in the department.
event flyer for 17 february hazards seminar

Seminar this week: Food, water and society

Food, water and society: how our political economy is not proving to be clever with food-water

Tony Allan & Brendan Bromwich
King’s College London Food-Water Group
Wednesday 15 February 2017
4:30pm, Pyramid Room, Strand Campus

The purpose of the session is to highlight the role of those who produce food – farmers – in the sustainable allocation and management of food-water. Food-water is the water consumed in the production of food, fibre and bio-energy. Non-food water accounts for c8% of the overall water footprint of society in providing domestic and industrial water services.  Farmers also play a major role in managing of biodiversity and a significant role in generating emissions. They manage about 90% of the water foot print of our economies, provide a major proportion of all biodiversity management and account for at least 25% of emissions. The session will provide evidence that the impact of farming is determined by food supply chain practices and policies that water scientists and professionals should take into account if they are to understand how sustainable water policies and practices can be installed. The session will first, highlight some of the essential water metrics that are as yet poorly communicated by water scientists. Secondly, it will highlight the problem of the absence of integration of 1.water, 2. environmental and 3. market accounting practices. Thirdly it will show that there are three food supply chain market modes with very deeply established path dependence. Two of them are market failures. Finally the significance of the asymmetric power relations in the globalised food system which delivers affordable (cheap) food will be highlighted. The long-term decline in food prices will be shown to make it difficult to operate a sustainable global food-water system.

 

Event flyer for the 15 February seminar on food-water

Friday: Science and the Sustainable Development Goals

This week’s Environmental Dynamics Seminar is on Friday from 17:15-18:15 in the Pyramid Room (K4U.04). Professor Stephen Linter, Dr Nate Matthews and Dr Mark Mulligan will be talking to us about the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the role of scientific and social scientific knowledge in their development and application followed by a panel discussion. The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception in the department.

 

Event flyer for Lintner and Mulligan seminar on sustainable development

Stephen Lintner visits the Department of Geography

Stephen Lintner joins the Department of Geography at King’s College London in 2017 for his third year as a Visiting Professor. Professor Lintner has over 40 years of worldwide experience in environment, infrastructure and water resources management. At King’s, he focuses on three complementary themes: policies and procedures for management of environmental and social impacts and risks; assessment and management of transboundary freshwater, coastal and marine resources; and evaluation of historical processes of human modification of environmental systems. Lintner previously held leadership roles at the World Bank; his most recent position, from 2000 to 2014, was as Senior Technical Adviser with global responsibilities. Earlier he was the Bank’s Adviser for Freshwater, Coastal and Marine Resources Management. Prior to joining the World Bank, Lintner served in the United States Agency for International Development, United States Geological Survey and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. He is the former President of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA). He holds a Ph.D. in Geography and Environmental Engineering from Johns Hopkins University (USA).

In addition to giving a number of research seminars and lectures, Professor Lintner has made time to meet individually with students and staff during his visit. Anyone who would like to meet with Stephen is invited to sign up for free online (http://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4fabad2aa7f58-11s). Master’s and PhD students interested in careers in international development, finance, and environmental policy are especially encouraged to make an appointment.

Event flyer for Stephen Linter's seminar on 8 February

Stephen will be speaking at the Human Geography Seminar this week, sharing his insight into international development financing. Please join us from 4:30pm in the Pyramid Room. A drinks and nibbles reception will follow.

International Development Financing: Current Priorities, Policies & Practices
 
Stephen Lintner, Visiting Professor
Wednesday 8 February 2017
4:30pm, Pyramid Room

This seminar will consider international development financing from the perspective of the multilateral development banks (MDBs) that are among the principal sources of such financing. The current priorities, policies and practices of these institutions will be reviewed, with a focus on environmental and social issues. The seminar will also discuss how the MDBs are structured and governed, how they develop their policies and strategies, and how the programs and projects they fund are prepared and implemented. Stakeholder engagement, and the processes used by the MDBs to engage a range of participants, including people affected by projects, will be addressed as well.