Water Security Network

Towards Urban Water Security


The UWE team’s work involves the systematic study across five major world regions (Europe and North America, the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Asia) of water security understood from the perspective of ‘socio-technical systems’, that is – the complex interacting systems of management and engineering that now organise and deliver water services. Our work examines different approaches taken by water resource specialists (regulators, engineers, scientists) to deal with the challenge of improving urban water security, particularly through addressing sources of water insecurity in all its guises (for example: periodic droughts or floods, degradation of coastal/surface/ground water quality, emerging contaminants, the water-food-energy nexus, unequal distribution of water services, etc.). On the foundation of better, more robust science we contribute to the engineering and operation of more resilient water systems.

The five strands of this work programme address some of the main challenges to urban water security and sustainable, resilient cities including:

Underlying these work strands are the global drivers of climate change and population change, as well as the need to work shoulder to shoulder with industry to ensure that our science efficiently reaches the practitioner community. Consequently, we maintain an active programme of engagement with academic, technical and practitioner communities as well as outreach activities to the general public, such as the annual National Youth Water Summit in South Africa, Bristol Bright Night (2015),  NASA-led CPD training in RS/GIS for Water Management (2016), and annual World Water Day events. MSc and PhD studentships, designed to both further our research aims and to help train up a new generation of specialists in water security, are also part of our ongoing work.

Water Security Network