PhD Researcher Profile: Dan Mills

Dan Mills is a NERC-funded PhD researcher studying with King’s Water on a London Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship. NERC-DTP offers students the chance to explore environmental science issues through PhD research supported by additional programming focused on multidisciplinary learning, employability skills, and science policy. Researchers spend the first term of their four DTP years in joint workshops on core research and professional development training conducted by the various partnering institutions. The bulk of the studentship is then spent as a doctoral researcher at one of the partner universities, with regular events further building skills. The programme builds a network of young professionals partnering across London institutions and departmental boundaries.

A 2014 London NERC-DTP Student, Dan began his work in the Department of Geography in April 2015. He wasn’t new to King’s College London, though, having completed a MSc in Aquatic Resource Management with King’s Water in 2012 after graduating with a BSc in Geography from Newcastle University. Dan then spent time working with the UK Environment Agency and Environmental Consultancy APEM Ltd. before applying for the PhD. Dan’s current work revolves around the ‘quagga mussel’. He wrote about the quagga on WaterWords at the beginning of his DTP tenure in October 2014. You can learn more about the species and why it matters for UK policy in the “Arrival of the Quagga Mussel” post and a recent episode of KCL Radio’s Footnotes Programme.

Dan Mills holds a tray of quagga mussels for sorting and analysis

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King’s Water presents “Dam(n) Problems!” at Pint of Science

Pint of Science logo - a beer glass with a brain and geeky glasses topping itThe Pint of Science Festival is back! The 2016 UK Pint of Science Festival will take place 23-25 May in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, Exeter, Glasgow, Manchester, Southampton, Teesside, York, Edinburgh, Hull, Leeds, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Portsmouth and Sheffield. The Pint of Science festival aims to deliver interesting and relevant talks on the latest science research in an accessible format to the public – all in the pub! We want to provide a platform which allows people to discuss research with the people who carry it out – no prior knowledge of the subject is required. It is run mainly by volunteers and was established by a community of postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers in 2012. The main festival takes place annually over three days in the month of May simultaneously in pubs across the world.


Battersea Barge RestaurantThis year, two King’s Water researchers will be delivering an interdisciplinary evening on political and environmental aspects of dams. The evening’s water element will be emphasised by the event’s location…a floating restaurant. Join geographers Naho Mirumachi and Emma Tebbs to hear about “Dam(n) Problems!” on the Battersea Barge Monday 23 May.


Emma Tebbs will present on “Assessing Threats to Lake Turkana – from Space!” From space, Lake Turkana appears as a jade jewel in the desert. The lake supports unique biological diversity, and is threatened by the Gibe III hydropower dam, which will permanently alter the lake’s ecology and hydrology. Satellite imagery can provide us with a unique perspective for monitoring changes in the lake’s water quality. Satellite observations have shown that the lake is at its most productive following the annual flooding of the Omo River. The Gibe III dam will dampen these flood events and therefore poses a great risk to fisheries on which local communities depend.

Slightly closer to Earth, Naho Mirumachi will move “Beyond Winners and Losers”.  Whether it’s the Gibe III dam in Ethiopia or the Three Gorges dam in China, dams have both benefits and negative impacts to both humans and ecosystems. This talk will discuss the socio-economic and political implications of dam building, placing the local impacts in a global and regional context of agricultural development, energy trade and economic growth. Rather than discussing dams simply as a matter of positive/negative impacts, Naho Mirumachi will discuss how we can better learn lessons of dam development.


For more details and to buy tickets, visit the Pint of Science UK Festival at

PhD Researcher Profile: Becca Farnum

Rebecca L. Farnum is a 2012 EPA Marshall Scholar exploring discourses of environmental conflict and cooperation, particularly around food and water resources in the Middle East and North Africa, under the supervision of Drs Naho Mirumachi and Alex Loftus. Becca has completed an LLM in International Law focused on environmental and human rights law at the University of Edinburgh and holds an MSc in Water Security and International Development from the University of East Anglia. She graduated in May 2012 from Michigan State University with degrees in anthropology, interdisciplinary humanities, international development, and international relations. Her senior honors thesis explored “Food and Water as the Middle East and North Africa’s ‘Coal and Steel’: Regional Economic Integration and Peace Prospects.”

In her undergraduate years, Becca cofounded MSU’s Campus Interfaith Council and worked with Students for Peace and Justice and the MLK Diversity Committee. Summer 2011, she worked at The White House in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Correspondence Office. Today, Becca serves as an International Board Member for Dorm Room Diplomacy, an organisation building relationships between international undergraduates through online videoconferences, and as the Founding Secretary of the AMEND Fellows, the American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue based at Stanford University.

PhD researcher Becca Farnum at Holt Hall lake

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MSc Student Profile: Daniyar Sagadiyev

Thus far on our King’s Waster Postgraduate Taught Student Profile Series, we’ve met China’s Olivia Pang, Californians Henry Symons and Rebecca Peters, and Britain’s Jack Bathe and Hazel Lewis. Today, meet Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Sagadiyev.

Daniyar Sagadiyev did his undergraduate in Almaty, Kzakhstan, the country’s former capital, where he studied water resources and water use. Since 2010, Daniyar has worked as an expert in the Committee for Water Resources in the Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture.

DaniyarDaniyar’s time at King’s is sponsored by the Kazakh government. He was awarded a two-year period to achieve his master’s in order to further his capacities in resource management. Daniyar is using that opportunity to pursue a MSc Water: Science and Management with King’s Water because he liked the modules available. His favourite is the Water, Security and Environment class, which he describes as “allowing students to see how independent states work together to allocate shared water resources and jointly solve emerged water problems”.

After finishing his time at King’s Water, Daniyar will take his learning back to his native Kazakhstan to continue advising the Ministry of Agriculture.


For Daniyar, these words come to mind when he thinks about water:





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

PhD Researcher Profile: Harris Kuemmerle

Today in our Profile Series, meet Harris Kuemmerle, one of King’s Water’s interdepartmental PhD researchers.

Originally from the United States, Harris holds a BSc in International Relations and Sociology (Plymouth University, UK) and an MSc in Asian Politics (SOAS, University of London). Harris has extensive professional experience in politics and journalism, having previously worked as a deputy director for a major political campaign during the 2012 US general election as well as having contributed to a wide range of newspapers, blogs, and journals. At King’s, Harris blends these interests as a Managing Editor of Strife, a dual format publication comprised of the Strife academic blog and the peer-reviewed academic Strife Journal.

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Evaluating the Performance of Alternative Municipal Water Tariff Designs

Headshot of Professor Dale WhittingtonOn Monday 25 April 2016, King’s Water will host Professor Dale Whittington from the Departments of Environment Sciences & Engineering, and City & Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Professor Whittington will discuss his latest paper on water tariffs in a seminar titled “Evaluating the Performance of Alternative Municipal Water Tariff Designs”.

There are many reasons to get water prices right. Increasing water scarcity and climate change now need to be added to the list. Climate change in particular presents water and wastewater utilities with a complex new set of management and strategic challenges, especially in developing countries. One important way for water utilities to deal with the uncertainty introduced by climate change is to maintain cash reserves that can be deployed to address problems as they arise. But few water utilities generate sufficient cash Event photo for Evaluating Water Tariffsto cover their full costs, and typically are unable to invest to protect strategic capital assets from extreme events or to build new capital facilities to address changes in rainfall and streamflow variability. It is thus increasingly important for water utilities to adopt financially and economically sound water tariff designs that enable them to provide essential services to their customers. The talk will present a modelling framework for analysing how alternative municipal water tariff designs affect the criteria of cost recovery, equity, and economic efficiency.

The event will be held 2-4pm on Monday 25 April in Room K0.19 of the King’s Building on King’s College London’s Strand Campus. This seminar is co-hosted by the Contested Development Research Domain of the Department of Geography at King’s College London. For more information, see the event webpage.

MSc Student Profile: Rebecca Peters

Rebecca Peters is a 2013 Udall Scholar, 2013 Truman Scholar, and 2014 Marshall Scholar. After moving to the UK from California to study international development at the University of Manchester, Rebecca joined King’s Water to pursue a MSc Water: Science and Governance.

Experience with water communities in developing countries led MSc student Rebecca Peters to consider the politics of water access as well as the technicalities

Experience with water communities in developing countries led MSc student Rebecca Peters to consider the politics of water access as well as the technicalities

Rebecca sees access to water as essential to achieving basic human rights, environmental sustainability, and geopolitical stability. Over the past decade, her community work has taught Rebecca that achieving water access for all is not just a technical challenge for scientists and engineers, but a significant legal, political, and social problem. Through her participation in local stream restoration and as a member of the Environmental Commission of her local city council in America, Rebecca witnessed how collaborative water management can empower community participation in environmental decision making. Joining her community to address local water pollution issues resonated on a personal level and Rebecca planned to dedicate my career to restoring local waterways as an environmental scientist. However, her path radically shifted during the second year of university at California Polytechnic in 2010 as she came to understand neglected global dimensions of struggles regarding access to water. With an engineering class, Rebecca traveled to Guatemala to develop a safe water project with a rural community. While she saw the improved health outcomes that safe drinking water could deliver, she also realised her technical education would not be sufficient to address the social and political issues threatening water availability for poor people. Coming to understand that water is required to achieve livelihood advancement and environmental system health inspired Rebecca to transfer to the University of California, Berkeley to study Environmental Science (BSc) and Interdisciplinary Development Economics (BA). That was the first step on her path to systemically confronting global water challenges.

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PhD Researcher Profile: Kate Baker

Field science and exploration were the main motivators for Kate to study Geography. Kate Baker holds a BSc in Geography from University College London and an MSc in Aquatic Resource Management from King’s College London, one of King’s Water’s four taught postgraduate programme offerings. Before embarking on her PhD, Kate won a European Commission’s Leonardo Mobility Award to fund a placement with the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research undertaking applied ecological research in the remote mountains of Børgefjell National Park. Prior to this Kate lived in Siberia for six months funded by the European Voluntary Service (EVS) to work with The Great Baikal Trail, a youth-led environmental organization helping to conserve the deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal. These experiences made Kate realise that her enjoyment of being in the natural environment and conducting field research could become a career.

PhD Researcher Kate Baker

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MSc Student Profile: Jack Bathe

Next up in our Profile Series of King’s Water postgraduates is MSc Water: Science and Governance student Jack Bathe.

I grew up in a small town south of London in Kent called Petts Wood. I’ve lived there all my life but started travelling to London to do Geography at King’s in 2012. Since then, having been exposed to the diverse nature that London and, in particular,  university campuses have to offer, I’ve upped my aspirations from wanting to eventually end up in a well-paying job in the city to wanting to travel far abroad and engage with all people from all places.

King’s, whether I knew it or not, had been a part of my life for a long time. The school I went to participated in a lot of their studies aimed towards the psychology of secondary school students – even though it wasn’t until some years later that I would recognise the logo. At first, I aspired to attend Oxford or Cambridge and was placed on a course at my school designed to prepare me for life in an elite environment. But when I toured the universities, I felt a little out of place. I hadn’t been brought up in the same upper-class environment as many of those around me. I decided against applying. I reassessed my options and applied to KCL and UCL, with King’s as my first choice. I chose KCL because it felt like more of a free flowing environment with the river on your doorstep and the Strand as the path to work – not a bad path really! I never looked back. King’s has treated me well and set me up nicely. I’ve met wonderful people from all walks of life who have exposed me to things I hadn’t even dreamt of just four years ago.

Jack Bathe pictured with his MSc classmates

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