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Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

Tagged: PhD Research Student

WIRC @ Bath attends 17th edition of IWA-UK Young Water Professionals Conference

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📥  Other, WIRC @ Bath

A delegation from Bath attended the 17th edition of the UK Young Water Professionals Conference in Norwich – organised jointly by the International Water Association (IWA), Anglian Water and the University of East Anglia. The conference, held from the 30th of March to the 1st of April 2016, included a varied programme around the topics of People, Planet and Profit and gathered more than 100 delegates from a diverse background of water industries and universities. The core of the conference was to provide young water professionals with an opportunity to develop their career by building their network and by understanding the opportunities within the water sector. Among the many well organised sessions, there was the opportunity to benefit from professional development advice from senior professionals, interesting keynote presentations on the three main topics as well as extremely engaging presentations from many postgraduate students and young professionals either in the panel sessions and the highly interactive poster sessions.

One of the panel sessions

One of the panel sessions

Chrysoula Papacharalampou was invited to present her work in the panel session on “Planet” on the topic of an integrated asset management methodology that she has been developing together with Wessex Water. Jon Chouler, Ellaine Gallagher and Fernanda Souza presented their work on “Microbial Fuel Cells”, “Behavioural studies for water use patterns” and “Treatment of a hospital wastewater by advanced oxidation processes” respectively at the poster sessions.

The conference came to an end but not before a terrific dinner, organised at the Saint Andrews Halls for Water Aid and where Jon Chouler took home the prize for best poster presentation!

Group photo before the dinner, (from left to right) Jon Chouler, Chrysoula Papacharalampou, Ana Lanham, Elaine Gallagher, Yen Chua, Fernanda Souza.

Group photo before the dinner, (from left to right) Jon Chouler, Chrysoula Papacharalampou, Ana Lanham, Elaine Gallagher, Yen Chua, Fernanda Souza.

Here’s what our delegates from Bath had to say about the conference:

Jon Chouler - PhD researcher, Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technology, Dept. of Chemical Engineering

“The conference was a great opportunity to actively engage with water professionals of various backgrounds about my research. The fact that the conference was for young professionals not only made interaction easier, it also added a great energy to the two days. I was able to discuss my research in great detail to many interested people, which no doubt will help me sculpt my research in the future- especially towards industrial application.”

Fernanda Souza - PhD researcher, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (Porto Alegre/RS, Brazil) & visiting researcher, Dept. of Chemical Engineering

“The conference was a good networking opportunity from both academia and industry and generated a lot of ideas to expand skills and professional qualifications.”

Chrysoula Papacharalampou - PhD Researcher, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering

“Participating at the 17th IWA YWP conference was a great opportunity not only to meet and mingle with other young water professionals, but also to present the outcomes of our ongoing research project and discuss with peers its relevance with the current challenges faced by the UK water sector. During the event, the presence of industry and professional organisations, like the Institute of Water or the Institute of Asset Management, allowed for networking and for exploration of job opportunities beyond academia.”

Visiting tour to water treatment plant of Anglian Water

Visiting tour to water treatment plant of Anglian Water

Ana Lanham - Lecturer, Water Innovation and Research Centre (WIRC), Dept. of Chemical Engineering

“This was an opportunity to have a broad understanding of the diversity within the UK water sector and to meet new interesting people across the board. It was also a fantastic opportunity to become more connected with the IWA activities in the UK, having in mind that with the establishment of WIRC as a dynamic research centre it is important to connect our growing community of staff and postgraduate students with the international community of water professionals.

Elaine Gallagher – PhD Researcher, Dept. of Psychology

“Having been uncertain as to how useful the conference would be for someone with a psychology background I was really pleasantly surprised that it was incredibly relevant with a great mix of people from a variety of backgrounds. It was a great opportunity to both network and discuss my research in a very welcoming environment with other young researchers. It was also very useful in terms of awareness of future opportunities in the sector.”

Yen Chua – Postdoctoral Research Associate, Centre for Advanced Separations Engineering (CASE), Dept. of Chemical Engineering

“Meeting with people from industries and other areas in water research helps in generating lots of ideas. As a member of CASE, it was a great platform to understand the current limitation in materials technologies for water treatment and separation, as well as creating network with water industries and young researchers for future collaborations.”


Understanding the impact of social norms on private behaviours: Examining on-campus shower use

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

This February see the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath.

Title: Understanding the impact of social norms on private behaviours: Examining on-campus shower use

Speaker: Elaine Gallagher

When: Tuesday 9th February 2016 at 5.15pm

Where: Room 3.15, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: In line with the targets of the 2008 Climate Change Act, the University of Bath is committed to greatly reducing the carbon footprint of the University to sustainable levels. The overuse of water is one carbon intensive activity which must be addressed due to the excessive amounts which are consumed on campus on a daily basis. This research focused on shower related water use as this is a behaviour which can vary dramatically from person to person. Having first collected data to establish the length of time spent in the shower, a social norms intervention was then applied, as social norms interventions have been shown to be a robust behaviour change mechanism. This involved providing students with information about how their shower time compared with the average time of the other participants, with an expectation that students would alter their shower duration in line with the average, or social norm. As social norms are generally effective for public behaviours, it is uncertain as to their effectiveness in changing private behaviours such as showering. This exploratory study aimed to uncover the utility of a social norms intervention in altering students showering times.

Contact: Please email Sarah Eliot if you need any further information.


How can developments in Water Accounting inform and reshape asset management practices in the UK water sector?

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📥  WIRC @ Bath

This January see the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath.

Title: How can developments in Water Accounting inform and reshape asset management practices in the UK water sector?

Speaker: Chrysoula Papacharalampou


When: Tuesday 12th January 2016 at 5.15pm

Where: Room 2.2, Building 6 East, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: The Natural Capital Declaration (NCD, UNEP 2011) requests companies to disclose the dependence and impact of their assets and services on the natural environment through transparent qualitative and quantitative reporting. Yet, limited work has been done so far. Efforts have mainly focused on the economic valuation of natural captial and ecosystem services, rather than the creation of methodologies devoted to reporting and accounting for the mutual relationships among built, financial and natural assets. Developments in the field of Water Accounting (i.e. the systematic process of identifying, quantifying, reporting and publishing information about water as a resource) could be used as a basis for such methodologies.



A water trip to Amsterdam

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📥  Other

The following blog post was contributed by Chrysoula Papacharalampou, a PhD Research Student in Mechanical Engineering.

It was only a few days ago that I returned back from Amsterdam, where I spent two of the most exciting weeks of my academic life. During my stay, I had the opportunity to be part of a big, colourful ‘water party’: the WetSkills Challenge (24 Oct – 6 Nov) and the Amsterdam International Water Week (2-6 Nov).

The WetSkills* Challenge is a pressure-cooker programme for passionate young water professionals, coming from different scientific and cultural backgrounds. It provides a floor to integrate generations, water challenges, disciplines and cultures.

Their main challenge involves the development of a team to come up with an innovative and out-of-the box solution for a given case study. The case studies describe a water-related problem, based on the regional challenges of the country where the WetSkills is held. The outcomes of the team work are presented to a formal water-related event. In our case, it was a true water festival: the Amsterdam International Water Week.




Project planning in Stellenbosch

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WISE CDT

Dr Lee Bryant, member of the Architecture and Civil Engineering Water, Environment and Infrastructure Research (WEIR) and WIRC @ Bath groups, visited the University of Stellenbosch Water Institute (near Cape Town, South Africa) on October 29 through November 4, 2015. This visit was funded by a Bath International Mobility Grant. Her visit coincided with a visit by the Director of WIRC @ Bath, Professor Jan Hofman. During this visit, Lee met with Professor Gideon Wolfaardt, the Director of the Stellenbosch Water Institute, to discuss and plan a project based on manganese (Mn) biofilm problems occurring within irrigation piping networks stemming from the Blyderivierpoort reservoir in the agriculturally driven Limpopo province, located in northern South Africa.

Blyderivierpoort Resevoir

The Blyderivierpoort reservoir has high levels of manganese (Mn) due to local geology. Consequently, Mn biofilms within irrigation pipelines are causing massive problems for farmers downstream.



Thinking Catchments: moving beyond physical asset management

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📥  Water Active, Water Management, Wessex Water, WIRC @ Bath

Research by Chrysoula Papacharalampou, a PhD Research Student in the Sustainable Energy Research Team in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is featured in both Water Active and the Institute of Water Journal this month. Her research currently being undertaken in collaboration with Wessex Water indicates that the water sector needs to consider the benefits provided by the natural environment in their strategic decision making. The work proposes catchment-based asset management and demonstrates how water industries can include natural assets (e.g. land, soil, ecosystems) in their portfolio.

Water Active is the UK's leading water industry monthly magazine and has the highest number of readers in the water industry. This article continues the monthly series of features by researchers in the Water Innovation and Research Centre at the University of Bath (WIRC @ Bath).

The Institute of Water Journal is published quarterly and contains articles of interest and relevance to the industry, directly targeted at those within the industry. This gives its members unparalleled opportunities to increase their knowledge about topics that are crucial to a successful future.

Read the full articles written by Chrysoula on page 14 in the September issue of Water Active and on pages 58/59 of the Institute of Water Journal.


How Bath research could reduce water scarcity in Middle East

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📥  Other

A Jordanian PhD student has come to Bath to investigate how our algae research could help clean wastewater in her country.


As one of the most water-poor countries in the world, Jordan’s current water resources fall significantly below the global water scarcity line. Annual rainfall falls under 50mm in 95% of the country, nearly all the country’s groundwater sources are being seriously overexploited and experts are warning that Jordan could soon face absolute water poverty.

Their geographic location also means that refugee flow, reported in 2014 to be over 600,000, from Syria, Iraq and Palestine puts even more pressure on the chronically scarce resources.

New ways of cutting down water wastage and overuse are in desperate demand and high on the Jordanian government’s agenda. Micro-algae is a diverse group of species with many potential applications including cleaning and improving the quality of wastewater - an application which, at the moment, remains an uncharted possibility in Jordan. This is what has brought Mais Sweiss to Bath.

“There is no one at my university in Jordan who does algae research and only a handful of people in the whole of Jordan doing research in this field”, Mais says.

Read the full article.