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Water security and climate change

Wednesday 22 February 2017, 16.00 - 17.15
School of Earth and Environment seminar rooms (8.119)
Declan Conway (Professorial Research Fellow, Grantham Research Institute)
Sustainability seminar hosted by SRI


2017 marks 40 years since the US Academy of Sciences published the first major report on climate and water: Climate, Climatic Change and Water Supply. This presentation reflects on methodological developments and evolving research directions during the intervening years. I summarise some of the main interactions between climate change and water resources and highlight the practical challenges for management. I then use examples of benchmark papers published in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s to describe a shift from climate impacts to adaptation. A qualitative assessment of current research shows a profusion of research diverging into specific themes including; scenario development, characterisation of uncertainty, adaptive management and decision-making under uncertainty, and institutional and policy contexts. I conclude with some thoughts on future directions in research and what climate change means for water security.



Declan’s research cuts across water, climate and society, with a strong focus on adaptation and international development. Originally a geographer, Declan draws on insights from different disciplines to pursue problem focused research. He has over 20 years’ experience working in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia (particularly China). Declan’s research funding has included the EU, UK departments DFID, Defra and DECC, UK NERC and ESRC, US NSF and the World Bank.


Directions to the Venue

School of Earth and Environment Seminar Rooms (8.119). At the Earth and Environment Reception take the door on the right-hand side. The Seminar Rooms are immediately on the left. Campus Map