Nathan Goldstein is a current MSc student in the Water Science and Governance program at King’s College London and hails from West Bloomfield Michigan, a township located near Detroit, Michigan. He completed his Bachelors of Science in both Marine Geology and History from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. Not wanting to leave the warm weather, he spent time both volunteering and working with the United States Geological Survey under Dr. Kimberly Yates. During his time with Dr. Yates he assisted on 3 field excursions to the Dry Tortuga National Park. This, in combination with his liaison role between government agencies, pushed him to better understand the ways in which science is communicated and understood as well as the dangers of climate change. In pursuit of this goal, Nathan looked towards King’s Water program as a way to do so. Primarily, its interdisciplinary capacity and breadth of faculty research drew him towards the program. Its reputation and location also provides excellent international opportunities which he hopes to capitalize on for both future research and career paths.
Nathan preparing sample bottles in the Dry Tortugas. (Photo Credit to Benjamin Drummond)
Nathans project at King’s will centre around the dangers of climate change, its threat to fresh water security and the (hopefully) multiple ways in which these can be averted. Having grown up in a region that has abundant fresh water (The Great Lakes and the multitude of small lakes) and lived on the Gulf of Mexico’s coast, water has been a constant is Nathan’s life. The threat of Climate Change and its multitude of dangers to coastal cities, state resources and infrastructure are an ever present and growing fact of life. Nathan hopes that his research will allow him to assist at risk areas by expressing the full extent of the dangers that loom in the future.
The King’s Water Activity Hub is proud to announce our 2017-2018 Annual Lecture, featuring Professor Richard Thompson from Plymouth University. The Annual Lecture will be held Tuesday January 30th, between 4:30 and 6pm in the Pyramid Room (K4U.04), Department of Geography, of the Strand Building, King’s College London. A drinks reception will follow.
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).
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
Stemming from a series of discussions regarding the future of development and cooperation in West Asia and North Africa (WANA), King’s College London recently hosted a Water Security Workshop in partnership with the University of Oxford, the University of East Anglia and The Third Line development think tank. This workshop was organised by students for students wanting to build networks and to develop a forum for water security discussions.
Kieran Lutton, a MSc Water: Science & Governance student and a member of the organising committee, reports on the event:
Our host at King’s was King’s Water, a wide scoped interdisciplinary group concerned with researching water, environment and development spanning social and physical sciences. I sat on the Workshop Organisational Committee as a King’s Water graduate student. Following an undergraduate degree in BSc Geography, I have been completing my MSc in Water: Science and Governance this past year, and developed a keen interest in water related issues regarding both their cause and management. In particular, my course has delved into the WANA region among other arid areas in detail, and opened my eyes to the important dynamics of cooperation and conflict in these locations.
The workshop focussed on the potential for connectivity models through life elements such as food, water and energy. Not only did the workshop draw upon talks by academics with years of experience in the transboundary water resources field (Dr Mark Zeitoun and Dr Tony Allan from UEA and King’s respectively), but also early career academics with a range of interests and opinions regarding water the WANA region. It was these talks that later facilitated wide ranging and valuable discussions contemplating the common challenges between agriculture and water security, before identifying gaps and opportunities for future water-energy-food cooperation.
Kieran with other members of the organising committee and speakers
From my own perspective, the workshop provided an interesting way to solidify what I have learnt this year at King’s. Particularly in the working group discussions I was able to contribute to the task, discussing the importance of greater discourse and transparency between stakeholders, a regional strategy, and the ways in which both could be supported in the future. On the other hand, the varied talks – ranging from the use of water as a weapon in Syria to the potential of solar power as an alternative energy source to benefit irrigation – built upon my own knowledge in a way that also highlighted both the scale and complexity of the task at hand.
The demand for the establishment of an international platform supported by academics in the WANA region is evident; an international platform that raises awareness and technical capacity of the region while overcoming the food security and irrigation paradox that currently exists. With this in mind, we are interested in continuing the work that has been made to date, but in the meantime a full report on our opening workshop can be found below.
Download workshop report
King’s Water has been an active partner of the London Water Research Group and over the years hosted numerous workshops and events. The London Water Research Group is a vibrant network of 100+ international water professionals, activists and scholars from over 10 countries dedicated to understanding and influencing transboundary water management, politics and policy. Spanning across multiple disciplines, the group has published key articles on the deeply political nature of water cooperation, governance, water security and the political economy of water use. From King’s Water, master’s, PhD students, researchers now in academic positions and professionals have been involved in the development of this international network.
Now the London Water Research Groups marks a milestone with members publishing a capstone paper “Transboundary ‘hydro-hegemony’: 10 years later” in the journal WIREs Water. The paper traces the establishment and progress of transboundary water analysis of the group, now often known as the ‘London School’, and discusses future directions for scholarship. Authors of the paper are: Jeroen Warner (Wageningen University); Naho Mirumachi (King’s Water, KCL); Rebecca L. Farnum (King’s Water, KCL); Mattia Grandi (Independent Researcher); Filippo Menga (University of Reading; former visiting student to King’s); Mark Zeitoun (University of East Anglia).
Previous publications of the London Water Research Group can be found here. Requests of copies of the paper in WIREs Water are welcome to Naho Mirumachi as well.
My name is Beth and I’m a MSc Water: Science and Governance student at the Department of Geography, King’s College London. I have just returned from an interdisciplinary fieldtrip to the Okavango Delta, Botswana, in partnership with the PLuS Alliance, which gave us the chance to work in collaboration with students and staff from UNSW Sydney and Arizona State University. I got to experience ‘the science’ part of environmental management in a different country’s context; conducting aquatic, riparian and terrestrial-based ecological surveys, collecting water quality data and learning a lot from the Australian students’ various ecology and biology backgrounds.
The most enjoyable part of the trip for me, besides the stunning safari drives and elephants, was ‘the governance’ aspect of the trip. We held a debate over the opportunities and challenges of managing the Okavango river basin from the perspective of each basin state, after lectures from UNSW’s Dr Richard Kingsford about adaptive management and King’s Dr Naho Mirumachi on the role of power in transboundary governance. It was rewarding to hear the themes we had discussed then reflected in a guest talk from Dr Ebenizário Chonguiça from the Okavango River Basin Water Commission (OKACOM).
Throughout the trip, our group were introduced to many stakeholders in the river basin. I’m now in the process of developing a podcast of conversations with the members of Botswana Predator Conservation Trust and Elephants Without Borders, to a former farmer, member of the Kalahari Conservation Society and past Permanent Secretary of the Botswanan Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism. It was great to learn about the river basin in situ, to get an insight into the effects of human development on the valuable wetland ecosystem, how these views of development are contested, and how we use science to monitor the effects. It has helped me to explore ideas for my dissertation next term, such as exploring the trade-offs between maintaining a free-flowing river system and seeking transboundary cooperation to share-benefits from the basin’s development.
This research trip comes after another water-orientated experience where I worked with WWF-UK as their Freshwater Science and Policy intern for three months at the start of 2017. The internship really appealed to me as a parallel to the science and governance elements of my course at Kings. It gave me a working insight into how an international organisation uses fieldwork, research and multidisciplinary expertise to become a knowledge producer and leading authority on environmental issues, and go on to empower communities and influence policy makers. I assisted in researching for, and drafting a primer on water infrastructure, and gave a talk on the impact of dams in front of many delegates from other national and international organisations.
All these experiences in my first year as a part-time student at King’s have given me real insight into many current water issues and how these can be tackled in a future career in water. After working alongside world class water experts and academics, seeing science and policy come together whilst working at WWF-UK or seeing it in the field in Botswana, it has been inspiring. I hope to go on to work in a research or policy role that makes a difference on the ground to people and the environment, wherever in the world that may take me.
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. “
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.
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 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.