Water availability and quality: natural environments, domestic use and food production (WaterSci)

Lead Research Organisation: Lancaster University
Department Name: Lancaster Environment Centre


This project addresses perhaps the greatest challenge facing humankind: feeding a world population approaching 7 billion against a background of growing concern over our planet's capacity to adapt to a changing climate. The recent IPCC report (http://www.ipcc.ch/) highlights both a predicted increase of 2-4oC in global surface warming by 2100 and significant perturbation in patterns and intensity of rainfall predicted to lead to serious droughts and more frequent flooding, both severe problems for food production and for the maintenance of a safe and secure water supply. Now, possibly more than at any time in the past, is there a need for innovation to ensure we can successfully meet such a global challenge. Improvement in security of supply and quality of water would also have a significant positive impact on sustainable development and health in parts of the world increasingly important to the UK as emerging markets. To meet this challenge, we need innovation to: quantify agricultural water requirements; increase water and resource use efficiency in food production; quantify and ameliorate the extent, source, fate and health impacts of water contamination; develop new environmental modelling capabilities; adopt emerging intelligent environmental sensor technology and take greater use of biosolids and wastewater. The WaterSci bid from the Lancaster Environment Centre and several labs in China, a partnership which leads the world in sustainable water management, proposes to focus on the development and exploitation of tools to deliver on this global innovation challenge and market opportunity.


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Description Plant improvement to increase nutrient use efficiency and maximise yields under drought: new traits identified
Development and application of new agronomic technologies to enhance water use efficiency: deployed in NW China. Engagement with farmers
Detection of heavy metals in the environment and food: new technologies developed
Understanding and managing the impact of organic chemicals in the environment: development of China-based research centre
Significant KE in water and nutrient management
Exploitation Route Changed farming and land use practice in China
Joint research centre allows extensive collaborative research in China. Links with Chinese research Academy for Environmental Science established
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Environment

URL http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/china-catalyst/news_and_events/news/002278/research-institute-opens-in-china
Description Work with farmers in NW China has resulted in substantial water saving in Agriculture and environmental restoration Development of Government policy on water use in Agriculture
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Environment
Impact Types Societal,Economic

Description Collaboration with China Agricultural University via 111 project 
Organisation China Agricultural University (CAU)
Department Department of Soil & Water Science
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Lancaster is a partner in this 111 project funded by DoE China focussing on water saving agriculture
Collaborator Contribution Joint research, shared students
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2014