PhD: Sustainable Water Management in Water-Scarce Drylands

 (via FindAPhD)
Northumbria University
Newcastle, United Kingdom
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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Project Description

Water scarcity and depletion of renewable water resources is a growing humanitarian and environmental threat, partly connected to global warming, but also to water mismanagement and overexploitation, as well as drastic landscape modification. This research project aims to address the interplay between water-use efficiency, sustainability and scarcity (UN Sustainable Development Goal 6), focusing on the Konya Plain (Turkey), a semi-arid region with an average annual rainfall of 240-280 mm/year. Here, unregulated deep wells, wild flooding and unsuitable crops, are leading to desertification and dramatic lowering of the water table. As a response, the Hotamiş dam project plans to draw water from the Göksu River, located 160 km away, to fill a dry lake bed.
The proposed research aims to quantitatively understand and compare past, present and future water supply practices, in terms of efficiency, human impact on the available water resources, and general sustainability, using a catchment-scale multi-scenario Hydrologic and Hydraulic numerical modelling platform. Scenarios considered will include, but may not be limited to, the 16th century CE (low withdrawals from water table, reliance on rainwater harvest and runoff), current scenario (heavily relying on deep wells) and future scenario (with dam and reservoir operation).
The PhD project will be linked to the Konya Regional Archaeological Survey Project (KRASP,, an interdisciplinary programme aimed at analysing Social-Ecological System dynamics across the Holocene (9500 BCE-present).
The project’s outcomes will inform research on Anthropocene-related issues, water management engineering and policy-making, and advocates for water-consumption behavioural change.
Skills gained as part of this project are expertise in Hydrologic and Hydraulic numerical modelling and experience on working in a truly interdisciplinary project.
The project is suitable for a student with background in Hydrologic and Hydraulic numerical modelling. Interest in past water practices, Geology, Geography, Agricultural Engineering is highly desirable. For more information, please contact Dr Davide Motta ().

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. OP.....) will not be considered.

Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community. The University holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Funding Notes

We have a minimum of 12 (3.5 year) PhD fully funded studentship awards available for October 2020 entry. Each award includes fees (Home / EU), an annual living allowance (for 2019/20 this is £15,009) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).