King’s Water is pleased to co-host the 10th Hydro-hegemony conference (HH10). This conference will be of interest to those working on transboundary water issues and the politics of water in general. The conference is open to both academics and practitioners, following the eclectic spirit of the London Water Research Group which has driven the hydro-hegemony conversations for the last decade plus.
Read the conference concept note here, as well as details below.
The 10th Hydro-hegemony conference (HH10) discusses ‘The Power of Representation & the Representation of Power in Water Conflict and Cooperation’. The conference is co-organised by IHE Delft, Wageningen University & Research, King’s College London, the University of East Anglia, and the London Water Research Group, supported by the City of The Hague, the Netherlands. It will take place on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 October 2019 in the Humanity Hub, a venue within easy reach of Den Haag Central Station.
The HH10 conference provides a platform to discuss representation of interests and issues as well as representation through discourses, narratives and images. It will focus on the following two questions:
- Who and what is (not) represented in transboundary water decision making?
- How are transboundary water issues (re)presented?
More information can be found in the attached call for papers.
We invite researchers, students and practitioners to address these questions and submit:
- a proposal for a 90-minute session including speakers with a word limit of 500 words, or
- an abstract for a 15-20-minute paper presentation with a word limit of 300 words
Young researchers are especially encouraged to apply.
The deadline to submit your proposal or abstract is 31 July via https://forms.gle/q6MYKbzzi85yWk9w7
Participation to the conference is free, but registration is required. Please register here: https://forms.gle/TW1ZEjfEMshpH5RC6
For questions please do not hesitate to email to email@example.com.
On behalf of the organisers,
Jenniver Sehring, Rozemarijn ter Horst, Emanuele Fantini, Jeroen Warner, Sumit Vij, Naho Mirumachi and Mark Zeitoun
As a second entry to our series of blog posts following the staff/student field trip to understanding the complex sustainability challenges of the Okavango delta, we have a student profile by Heather this week. This trip is a joint project of the PLuS Alliance with University of New South Wales and Arizona State University.
Into the Okavango Delta by Heather Needham
I am a first-year undergraduate student currently studying BSc Geography at King’s. During my first year at university, I have found studying modules themed around biodiversity, climate change, hydrology and natural hazards really interesting.
Outside of university, I have recently completed a two-week internship at the Royal Geographical Society, and I represent the Society as a Geography Ambassador.
It is an honour to be awarded a King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship which gives me the opportunity to travel to the Okavango Delta this month. This will be a new experience for me as it the first time I have flown outside of Europe. I will be joined by students from the University of Arizona and the University of New South Wales in which we will help preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Botswana, I will be exploring the physical and human processes that affect the wetland. This enables me to advocate conservation through the exploration, collection and analysis of data in the Okavango which supports my ambition to protect and conserve natural landscapes. In particular, I will be assisting Michael Chadwick on his research examining the factors that affect the ecosystem services in Botswana. Specifically, I will be investigating how disease affects Botswana spatially.
Even though writing my dissertation is still quite far off, the research trip to Botswana will enable me to understand how to conduct a field research project abroad and what is involved in higher academic research. This will give me the experience and skills I need to fuel my ambition to be the first in my family to obtain a Doctoral Degree.
For the third year running, we’re off to the Okavango delta in Botswana as part of a river sustainability project funded by the PLuS Alliance. With a group of staff and students from King’s, as well as fellow colleagues from University of New South Wales and University of Arizona, we will look at the socio-ecological challenges and opportunities of this unique river basin.
Daniel Ramsay tells us what he is looking forward to during this trip:
I am a master’s student currently studying MSc Environmental monitoring, modelling and management with a three-year background in studying BSc Geography, which has led to specific interests in exploring substantial environmental change over time using remote sensing analysis and the impacts future climate projections have on these landscapes.
I have further developed my skills within these fields across several modules King’s has offered this year including monitoring and modelling environmental change, ultimately leading to a drive and passion for further exploring a particular environmental landscape under threat for my dissertation research.
I have previous experience in this study field from research analysis with regards to studying environmental change across the Murray Darling Basin in South Eastern Australia using remote sensing techniques to assess the vast drying of one of Australia’s most crucial ecosystem resources for my undergraduate dissertation.
Using this previous experience motivated me to develop my master’s dissertation, which involves using satellite data to map wetland cover and change while using a hydrological climate model to assess the future changes across the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
I am lucky enough to have the opportunity thanks to King’s Water to travel to the Delta come July 2019, to further develop my understanding of the region first hand while also allowing for the collection of ground truth data which will supplement, support and give an accuracy for my desk-top research. I am hoping this exciting opportunity will provide me with not only great experience in developing my fieldwork skills but the determination in providing valuable research results for the people of Botswana in helping to preserve their one-of-a-kind heritage site
King’s will host the ‘Environmental Rights: Law, Science and Policy Symposium’ on 24 June 2019. The discussions will include a debate on the Rights to Water and Sanitation. Further details below.
Film screening and workshop:
“Our Lives Depend on the River”
Hydropower development and its impact on environment, poverty and conflict dynamics in the Lower Omo, Ethiopia
Monday 3rd June 9am – 3pm
King’s College London,
Bush House (South East Wing), 1.01, London
Communities in Nyangatom, in the Lower Omo region of Ethiopia, have experienced a range of environmental shocks since 2015 including drought, changes in the Omo River flood-regime due to dam developments, and crop pest infestations, which have curtailed crop harvests. These changes are contributing to increased environmental degradation and poverty, reduced food security and increased dependence on government food aid.
During the workshop we will consider how communities can be supported to adapt their livelihoods to cope with changing environmental conditions and to mitigate the impact of lost flood-retreat cultivation livelihoods.
Our findings come from an ERSC-DFID funded study ‘Shifting in/equality dynamics in Ethiopia: from Research to Application (SIDERA)’, an interdisciplinary research project which examined the links between poverty, conflict and environmental degradation in the Omo Valley, and the role of inequality at the core of this nexus.
Register to attend the event at: https://our-lives-depend-on-the-river.eventbrite.com
Film: “Our Lives Depend on the River”
This film illustrates challenges faced by communities in the Nyangatom district, Ethiopia, including changes to the Omo River, crop pest infestations and invasive plant species.
The film was produced as part of the knowledge exchange component of the SIDERA project, which aims to:
- exchange knowledge among diverse stakeholders and different disciplines and fields, e.g. integrating knowledge regarding environmental changes and their implications for poverty, peace, and security
- stimulate new thinking/conversations about prevailing and alternative models of development, social inclusion, and profit sharing
During the workshop, we will describe how we set about co-producing, translating and transferring crucial knowledge from local environments, where largely non-literate communities hold vast unused expertise, to the national and international spheres, and vice versa. We will also feed-back on discussions from a series of dissemination workshops carried out in Ethiopia at national, regional and local levels. Finally, we will discuss potential solutions, future directions and policy recommendations.
Film screening and workshop: “Our Lives Depend on the River”
Monday 3rd June 9am – 3pm
King’s College London, Bush House (South East Wing), 1.01, London
09:15 – Coffee
09:30 – Introductions:
- The SIDERA project
- Challenges facing communities in Nyangatom
09:45 – Key Findings:
- Environmental Change: How have recent developments affected the spatial and temporal availability of and access to natural resources in the region?
- Wealth/poverty: How are environmental changes influencing relations of material in/equality?
- Peace/conflict: How are changing resources affecting conflict dynamics in the region?
11:00 – Coffee
11:30 – Film Screening: Our Lives Depend on the River
12:00 – Breakout Discussion
12:30 – Lunch
13:30 – From Research to Application:
- Policy recommendations
- Our approach to translating research into application
- Ongoing work
14:30 – Reflections
15:00 – End
Dr Jane Catford joined King’s Geography about 6 months ago. She is plant ecologist interested in interactions between vegetation and global environmental change – and approaches the topic of water from that perspective. She’s particularly interested in biological invasions and how exotic plant invasions can be both a symptom and cause of environmental change, including hydrological change. She mostly works in rivers, wetlands and grasslands.
After completing a BA/BSc at Monash University in Australia, Jane spent a year researching effects of urbanisation on benthic microalgae in streams, and then worked as an environmental consultant for a couple of years. This work was freshwater-focused, with projects including river restoration, environmental impact assessment, water-sensitive urban design, including the design of constructed wetlands. Her PhD at the University of Melbourne examined drivers of vegetation change in floodplain wetlands of the River Murray, Australia’s largest river system. Through hydrological modelling, vegetation surveys and plant traits (and a bunch of other things!), she found that the switch from native- to exotic-dominated vegetation was driven by river regulation and associated changes in wetland flooding regimes.
Since finishing her PhD, she’s worked as a vegetation specialist on a project funded by the Australia-China Environment Development Program that developed and trialled a rapid river health and environmental flows assessment protocol for China. The project was run in collaboration with the Chinese Ministries of Water Resources and Environmental Protection and the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, and involved fieldwork and training in southern, central and northern China (where the tofu is mind blowing!). She has also been involved in projects that examine the impacts of climate change, and climate change adaptation, on freshwater and riparian systems, and has investigated the impact of invasive plants and animals on hydrological ecosystem services. She’s in involved in a industry-research linkage grant funded by the Australian Research Council that aims to quantify the interactive effects of flood regime restoration, native vegetation plantings, and removal of understorey vegetation in restoring degraded wetland forests. Some of her PhD students have worked on wetland restoration following river regulation and agriculture, and have quantified the amount of carbon stored in wetlands, the drivers of that storage, including the influence of plant traits.
At King’s, Jane’s “watery’ activities include: coordinating and teaching Applied Aquatic Sciences with Mike Chadwick next year; co-supervising Stefanie Kaupa (with Mark Mulligan), a NERC DTP PhD student, who is researching the impacts of agricultural land abandonment on hydrology in the mountain environments of Nepal and Colombia; supervising two Masters students examining vegetation along Hampshire’s chalk streams; and teaching/research in the Okavango Delta in Botswana as part of PLuS Alliance with the University of New South Wales and Arizona State University. Led by Marije Schaafsma at University of Southampton, Jane, Mark Mulligan, Arnout van Soesbergen and others have just submitted a GCRF proposal to work on the lower Shire River Basin (and the Elephant Marsh) in southern Malawi where human lives and livelihoods, hydrology and ecology are tightly integrated – and all increasingly threatened by ongoing climate and land use change.
If anyone would ever like to talk water and plants, Jane would be delighted!
Dr Majed Akhter has recently been awarded from the BBC and the AHRC. The jointly-run program works with ten scholars, called “New Generation Thinkers“, to develop their broadcast skills and to create programming for BBC Radio 3. Part of the application process involved a full-day “audition” at the BBC Broadcasting House, where he also had the pleasure of meeting some of the other short-listed applicants and learn about their research.
Majed pitched “Dam Fever”, a program or series of programs that would explore the 20th-century history of large dams with a focus on their ideological, developmental, and socio-ecological impacts and contexts. Over the next year of working with BBC presenters, producers, and the other New Generation Thinkers, Majed aims to translate for a broad radio audience a decade of scholarly research and university teaching on the political and historical geography of rivers and hydraulic infrastructures.
“I’m excited to share my research on the links between state power, uneven development, natural resources and the built environment by telling good stories.”
See profile here.
Dr. Katie Meehan is a new faculty member at King’s Geography and an expert in household water insecurity, urban infrastructure, and water governance and policy in Latin America and the USA. She directs the Plumbing Poverty project, a new research initiative that explores the intersectional nature of infrastructure, space, and social inequality, with a focus on domestic water provision.
In a recent article published by the Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Meehan and her team explore the social geography of domestic water provision in the USA and expose its racialized, classed, and political nature. In the USA, nearly 1.5 million people lack complete household plumbing (the presence of piped water and sewerage). Just 14% of households without complete plumbing are ‘trailers’ or mobile homes.
This phenomenon is neither socially nor spatially random. Across all households, accounting for income and housing type, Native American households are 3.7 times more likely to lack piped water service; Black and Hispanic (Latinx) households are 1.2 times more likely. Meehan’s article begins to map the failure of public policy and local state institutions to provide equal life opportunity in the United States, one of the wealthiest countries in the world.
Check out the article here!
The King’s Water Activity Hub is proud to announce our 2018-2019 Annual Lecture, featuring Dr. Lydia Burgess-Gamble from the Environment Agency. She will be speaking about “Designing a Research Framework for Natural Flood Management”. The Annual Lecture will be held Friday March 29th, between 5 and 6.30pm in the North East Wing of Bush House, 6th floor room 6.05, Department of Geography, King’s College London. A drinks reception will follow.
Agency’s flood risk research team. She will talk about how they identify research needs and deliver applied research, filling gaps in policy and practice.
She will talk about her current role where she has developed a Research framework defining high priority areas of research in the field of Natural Flood Management, and how this led to the publishing of a seminal piece of work which summarises the evidence behind Natural Flood Management. This has in turn informed current government policy through the 25 year environment plan and is being used by practitioners implementing NFM schemes.
Lydia will also talk about how the Environment Agency works with Research Councils to steer and inform Research call.