Microplastics in the Environment: panel discussion

This Friday (1st February) we are very pleased to host a panel discussion on ‘Microplastics in the Environment’. We have invited three panelists with diverse expertise and experience:

(i) Chiara Bancone (Department of Geography, UCL): microplastics in aquatic systems

(ii) Dr Stephanie Wright (MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, KCL): airborne microplastics

(iii) Stav Friedman (MSc Climate Change: Environment, Science And Policy, Department of Geography, KCL): social initiatives and innovative solutions

Each panelist will speak on their topic briefly before we open to the floor for questions and discussion.

Starting @ 17:15 in Bush House North East Wing, room 6.05, with drinks and nibbles to follow.

King’s Water Events – Spring 2019 – Documentary Screening and Book Launch

Water at the Margins (2018)

Documentary screening and discussion

With director Maria Rusca (Uppsala University, Sweden) and story consultant Nathalie Richards (King’s College London, UK)

‘Water at the Margins (2018)’

Drawing on our experience in undertaking a videography project in Maputo, Mozambique, this seminar reflects on the role and potential of this method to capture and visualize inequalities in access to domestic water.

Where? Bush House North East Wing room 6.05

When? Wednesday March 20th 2019, 16.30-17.30

Book launch by Scott Moore, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)

‘Subnational Hydropolitics: Conflict, Cooperation, and Institution-Building in Shared River Basins’

Subnational Hydropolitics re-examines the issue of water conflict by examining conflicts at the subnational rather than international level.

Where?  Bush House (South centre block) room 2.05

When? Thursday March 21st 2019, 17.00-19.00

To find us: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/visit/index.aspx

Follow us here: @KingsWaterKCL

 

The Flow of Time: Rivers, Geography and the Next Hundred Centuries

A talk with Jonathon Keats, Alex Loftus (King’s College London), Nora Buletti (University of Fribourg). Moderated by Oli Stratford (Disegno)
Rivers are natural calendars, marking the passage of time as they meander, but their rate of meandering is contingent on climate change. Artist and philosopher Jonathon Keats proposes to re-calibrate clocks and calendars based on the long-term meandering of rivers, grounding time in the environmental conditions of our planet. This epic new project, planned for the Ticino River, is merely the latest of Keats’s many immersive encounters with deep time, which have also involved the construction of cameras taking hundred- and thousand-year exposures of the American landscape. Keats will discuss the Calendar of the Meander and his other time-based environmental artworks with river sociologist Nora Buletti and the critical geographer Dr. Alex Loftus, in a public conversation moderated by Disegno editor-in-chief Oli Stratford.
Event details
Tuesday, 20th of November, 18h15-19h45
King’s College, Bush House, South East Wing, Room 1.05

Address: South East Wing, Bush House, 300, Strand, London WC2R 1AE

Environmental Dynamics and King’s Water Hub Joint Events

Everyone is welcome to two panel discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals, organised by King’s Water Hub and the Environmental Dynamics Research Group

Panel 1  SDGs: politics and policy (Wednesday, November 14, 2018 5:00 – 6:00pm)
Bush House Lecture Theatre 3 Bush House (North East Wing) 0.01
Paul Steele, IIED  The political economy of the SDGs
Kate Schreckenberg, KCL  SDGs on the ground
Stephen Lintner, KCL The SDG Ocean Agenda
Panel Discussion moderated by Helen Adams

Followed by refreshments in 6.05

Panel 2 Nature, Water and SDGs (Tuesday, November 27, 2018 5:00 – 6:00pm)
Bush House Lecture Theatre 3 Bush House (North East Wing) 0.01 
Jane Catford Water and the SDGs
Mark Mulligan, KCL  Nature’s contributions to meeting the SDGs
Emma Tebbs Earth Observation and the SDGs
Panel Discussion moderated by Kate Schreckenberg

Followed by an undergraduate poster event

Insights into Dr Margaret Kadiri’s Research

Dr Margaret Kadiri is a Teaching Fellow in the Geography Department at King’s College London. Her research tackles one of the main challenges facing the tidal renewable energy sector which is the lack of understanding of the hydro-environmental impacts associated with tidal renewable energy schemes. Tides are a highly attractive source of renewable energy. The regularity of tides reduces uncertainty over power generation while also reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy security. In the UK, tidal energy presents substantial opportunities for large scale clean energy generation and there has been an increased interest in the generation of electricity from tidal energy sources in recent years, with plans for a tidal lagoon scheme in Wales, the first in the world. Alongside plans for the development of such schemes comes the need to understand their potential impacts on the hydro-environment as this has impeded the growth of the UK’s tidal energy sector. Margaret’s work aims to address some of the hydro-environmental concerns, and to find mitigating measures to minimise the impacts, particularly the risk of eutrophication by nutrient enrichment. Ultimately, this will help in designing schemes which can maximise power output with the least environmental impacts. To this end, Margaret recently returned from a field expedition of the potential site for the proposed tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay in collaboration with colleagues from Swansea University and Imperial College London.

In addition to providing baseline conditions, the water quality data collected during the field expedition will be used to assess the robustness of a novel coastal ocean model which is been developed at Imperial College London (http://thetisproject.org/). The aim is for the model to be employed as a reliable tool for water quality impact assessment of prospective tidal renewable energy schemes and to develop a functionality to accurately assess the risk of eutrophication.

First talk of 2018/2019 academic year! Food production and water resources in Brazil

Come join us for the first talk of the academic year, on September 20th at 4pm in room 6.05 in the North East Wing of Bush House!

Lineu N. Rodrigues will give a brief overview of food production and water resources in Brazil, specifically in the Cerrado’s region. The presentation will cover a general idea of agricultural challenges, water resources legislation, irrigation, water use and some irrigation strategies adopted in regions facing water conflicts.

Visiting researcher from Switzerland, PhD student Nora Buletti-Mitchell

King’s Water welcomes Nora Buletti, who is joining us from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. She will be collaborating with us and finalising her PhD research on participatory processes for watercourse management in Switzerland. As part of a joint research project with the University of Lausanne, and mandated by the Swiss Government’s Federal Office for the Environment, Nora specifically evaluates the effect of the introduction of subsidies for participation in projects of watercourses management. In collaboration with her colleagues of the research project, she also drafted principles to encourage the practice of participation. In her thesis, she is exploring the theoretical concepts necessary to develop a critical approach to analyse institutionalised public participation, and more precisely the role of experts in these processes. Her PhD project therefore includes two dimensions: an applied one and a theoretically based analysis. Nora principally refers to Foucault’s concept of governmentality to analyse dynamics of exclusion and control within the participatory approaches taking place in specific context of river course management projects.

Nora has been at the University of Fribourg since her Bachelor’s degree in Geography, followed by an Msc in Human Geography. She has also been undertaking supervision and teaching of methodological practical courses in human geography, and been a tutor at the Environmental Sciences section. She chose to come to King’s College London to benefit from inputs from her host Dr. Alex Loftus, as well as other PhD students in the department. Her aim is to consolidate her theoretical framework, exploring advantages and limits, as well as creating long-lasting academic relationships for her academic career.

She is supervised by Prof. Olivier Graefe at the University of Fribourg and Dr. Olivier Ejderyan at ETH Zurich, and is working in close collaboration with Dr. Alex Loftus at King’s College London.

 

Nora’s three water words:

Institutionalized public participation

Governmentality

Exclusion

Using documentaries for research and public engagement

Lilongwe Water Works? A research documentary on the dynamics of water provisioning and access in informal settlements

Dr. Maria Rusca – a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow and Lecturer in Water and Development at our Geography Department at King’s College London – is the Principal Investigator of “Investigating Natural, Historical and Institutional Transformations in Cities (INHAbIT Cities)”, aiming at improving understandings of the dynamics of basic service provision in urban and suburban spaces in the global South. The project particularly investigates the relation between urban infrastructures, distribution of everyday risks and uneven conditions of access to water in Maputo (Mozambique) and Lilongwe (Malawi).

Maria believes that strong connection and commitment to a cause comes with inspiring stories; she has thus decided to engage with larger non-academic audiences and policy makers by disseminating INHAbIT’s research findings through a short documentary.  “Lilongwe Water Works?” tells the stories of women accessing or providing water where the formal utility provides water through public water kiosks (see picture).

In addition to using her documentary intitled “Lilongwe Water Works?” as part of the education curriculum of Water and Development at King’s College London, and Water Governance at IHE Delft, Maria returned to Lilongwe a few weeks ago to share her findings at various events she organised.

The documentary was projected at the Water User Association in one of the informal settlements, where some community members, water users, and contributors to the documentary were able to discover and discuss the final output; the same was done in an informal settlement’s school; another projection was done at the Lingadzi Hotel, with water stakeholders (the World Bank, UNICEF, the Ministry of Water, Lilongwe Water Board, the Economic Justice Network, Lilongwe City Council, WASAMA) and journalists (Zodiac, Reuters, AFP, Free Expression institute, Times Group, Capital Radio, Nyasa Times).

The most impressive moment for Maria was to see how the documentary was able to raise debates and even confrontations in ways she had never experienced before. During these debates, concerns were raised about the role of Water Users Associations: while on the one hand they are considered to be useful in ensuring water supply, they are also causing water to low-income areas to become increasingly expensive and often unaffordable (see referenced papers at the end of the post).

To watch the documentary:

WATCH ON VIMEOhttps://vimeo.com/240647554

DIRECTOR: Maria Rusca

YEAR: 2017

SYNOPSIS: The water utility in Lilongwe, capital city of Malawi, serves people living in low-income neighbourhoods through a system of water kiosks. The kiosks work like shops, which opening hours when people can go buy 20 litre buckets of water. This documentary tells the stories of the women and men that access water through the kiosks and those who are involved in running them. Their stories reveal both the successes and the failures of providing water through kiosks and call us to question whether this system can ensure the human right to water to the residents of Lilongwe’s peripheries and to others elsewhere in the world.

PRODUCER: Whales That Fly and Hyphen Media

FUNDING: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 656738

 

For related peer-reviewed papers:

  1. Tiwale S., Rusca M., Zwarteveen M., The power of pipes: mapping urban water inequities through the material properties of networked water infrastructures. The case of Lilongwe, Malawi, Water Alternatives, Water Alternatives 11(2): 314-335.
  2. Rusca, M., Schwartz K., Hadzovic, L., Ahlers R., (2015), Adapting Generic Models through Bricolage: Elite Capture of Water Users Associations in Peri-urban Lilongwe, European Journal of Development Research, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 777–792. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1057/ejdr.2014.58
  1. Rusca M., Alda Vidal C., Hordijk M., Kral N., Bathing without water, and other stories of everyday hygiene practices and risk perception in urban low-income areas: the case of Lilongwe, Malawi, Environment and Urbanisation, doi: https://doi.org/10.1177/0956247817700291
  2. Alda Vidal C., Kooy M., Rusca M., (2018) Mapping operation and maintenance: an everyday urbanism analysis of inequalities within piped water supply in Lilongwe, Malawi,Urban Geography, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp. 104- 121 doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/02723638.2017.1292664
  3. Rusca M. and Schwartz K., (2018) The Paradox of Cost Recovery in Heterogeneous Municipal Water Supply Systems: Ensuring Inclusiveness or Exacerbating Inequalities?Habitat International, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2017.03.002
  4. Sarpong Boakye-Ansah A., Ferrero G., Rusca M and van der Zaag P., (2016) Inequalities in microbial contamination of drinking water, supplies in urban areas: the case of Lilongwe, Malawi, Journal of Water and Health, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp. 851-863, doi: 10.2166/wh.2016.258 

For related blogs:

Are we paying enough attention to water quality? https://flows.hypotheses.org/686

Bathing without water https://flows.hypotheses.org/659

22 Reasons why collaborations fail: Lessons from water innovation research

New Research Output by Dr. James Porter: 22 Reasons why collaborations fail: Lessons from water innovation research

Research highlights:

  • Bold and inventive solutions are urgently needed to safeguard the future use of water.
  • Collaborative-innovations are increasingly championed but it’s often unclear what influences the success (or failure) of these efforts.
  • Using an international systematic literature review of empirical studies, we identify 22 key themes.
  • Yet the importance attributed to each theme, agreement amongst the studies reviewed, and compatibility of the themes, varies considerably.
  • We caution against the uncritical use of different themes and call on researchers and practitioners to recognise the darker side of water collaboration.

Recommended reference: Porter, J.J.; Birdi, K. (2018) 22 Reasons why collaborations fail: Lessons from water innovation research, Environmental Science & Policy, 89, 100-108.

The paper is freely available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2018.07.004

This research is first of a series of outputs produced as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences (EPSRC) TWENTY65 – Tailored Water Solutions for Positive Impact – Grand Challenge programme. The next research outputs will critically examine the themes identified here by comparing them with the first-hand experiences of those working in the UK water sector (e.g. water companies, suppliers, regulatory bodies, and research institutions).

Abstract: Bold and inventive solutions are urgently needed to safeguard the future use of water. In response, collaborative-innovation is increasingly championed. If stakeholders including water utilities, supply-chain companies, research institutions and local communities work together, share their experiences and pool ideas, meaningful change could happen, it’s argued. But effective collaboration is far from easy. For every incentive that drives collaboration forward, another barrier blocks its path. Whilst the literature offers many possible factors that influence the success (or failure) of collaborative-innovations, it remains unclear which factors are most important, where the highest agreement and disagreement exists, and if accommodating one factor creates problems for another. This is important because its not always practical, nor necessary, to apply everything from the academic literature. In this paper, we report findings from an international systematic literature review that brings together a range of studies that cross the water collaboration and water innovation divide. We identify 22 broad themes that are spread (unevenly) across the entire collaborative-innovation process; highlight how the level of attention given to each theme varies greatly; and where disagreement exists. Our research provides practical insights on how to create more effective collaborative-innovations in water and where future research should be directed.

Okavango 2018: Field trip in Botswana

King’s Water with colleagues from University of New South Wales and Arizona State University are currently in Botswana undertaking field activities with a PLuS Alliance support project on river sustainability of the Okavango basin.

Check live twitter from the field !

Joining the team this year is Georgia, a 2nd yr King’s Geography student:

“My name is Georgia Edwards, i’m a second year physical geography student. Since finding climate studies to be a highly relevant and diverse topic at A-Level, it has become my main academic focus as it is applicable to so many different fields.

Fieldwork is one of my favourite parts of the discipline, giving freedom to travel whilst demonstrating theory in reality. I have been lucky enough to work around the UK, in Morocco, Spain and now to Botswana.

This King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (KURF) is particularly exciting due to participation of academics and likeminded students from the US and Australia. They will lead research and give lectures in the Okavango Delta on different aspects of the environment and its inhabitants. This will allow me to gain more of an academic understanding of conservation and wildlife in the Delta.

Conservation of African wildlife has always been an interest of mine, which only grew after I visited the Meru game park in Kenya. I am hoping to be able to combine conservation and climatic factors into my IGS project. To work on how climate change could affect certain species of animals in the Okavango Delta, bringing a personal interest of mine into an academic field.”

 

See this video to find out what days in the field are like: