U.K. nationals: The effect of channel confinement on long term flood risk in dynamic river systems - PhD via FindAPhD

University of Glasgow

Glasgow, UK 🇬🇧

About the Project

Project context: In recent decades, there has been widespread construction of embankments and flood defences to alleviate flood risk in the alluvial plains downstream of the Himalaya. Sediment dynamics are often omitted in flood protection projects, even in these sediment-laden Himalayan river systems. Sediment build up in confined channels can lead to the overtopping or breaching of embankments, with disastrous consequences for heavily populated settlements on the Gangetic floodplains. Predicted long-term changes in sediment flux in the Himalayas due to climate change, coupled with predictions of increased frequency and intensity of monsoonal rainfall events could compound future flood risk.

Project aim: The aim of this project is to examine the long-term effect of channel confinement on sediment dynamics and flood risk in the context of climate change and increasing populations living in the Gangetic plains. The successful candidate will develop a physical and/or numerical model of an embanked river based on Himalayan river(s) as they exit the mountain front. The model(s) will be calibrated against existing field data of sediment and discharge flux, and validated against historical flood events. There will be scope in this project to explore alternative measures to typical hard engineering solutions to alleviate flood risk in dynamic, sediment laden river systems. Physical experiments will be run in the Water Engineering Laboratory at the University of Glasgow. 

Candidate profile: We are looking for a stellar candidate with an interest in Environmental Engineering or Geomorphology to apply for the James Watt School of Engineering Doctoral Scholarship Scheme (UK or Irish student). The candidate must have, or is expected to receive, a first class honours degree in Civil/Environmental Engineering, Geosciences or Geomorphology, or a related physical science discipline. A strong background or interest in numerical modelling techniques or physical experiments would be an advantage. 

Supervisory team: Dr. Maggie Creed (Glasgow), Dr. Elizabeth Dingle (Durham), Prof. Bill Sloan (Glasgow)

Funding Notes

Funding is available for students from the UK or Republic of Ireland.


1. Li et al., 2021. Exceptional increases in fluvial sediment fluxes in a warmer and wetter High Mountain Asia. Science. https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.abi9649
2. Roxy, M.K., Ghosh, S., Pathak, A. et al. A threefold rise in widespread extreme rain events over central India. Nat Commun 8, 708 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00744-9
3. Dingle et al., 2020. Dynamic flood topographies in the Terai region of Nepal. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 45(13), 3092–3102. https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4953





IHE Delft Institute for Water Education - MSc in Water and Sustainable Development