Hydrology and water resources

A research group led by Wouter Buytaert

We are a research group based at Imperial College London, focusing on sustainable water resources management. We deal with the entire toolchain from data collection, process understanding, simulation and prediction, to decision-support. Some applications include assessing and predicting the impact of climate change and land-use changes on water resources, quantifying ecosystem services, developing integrated hydro-ecological simulation systems, and uncertainty analysis.

We work predominantly in tropical regions such as the South-American Andes (Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Chile), the African rift (Ethiopia), and south Asia (India and Nepal), but we are also involved in projects in the UK and Europe. We work extensively with universities in all continents (well, except Antarctica), as well as policy institutes, governments, NGO's and local stakeholders.

Featured projects

Water security and climate change adaptation in Peruvian glacier-fed river basins (RAHU)

Successive glacier shrinkage combined with high human vulnerabilities and low adaptive capacities increasingly raise serious concerns about long-term water security in the tropical Andes. RAHU uses the Vilcanota-Urubamba Basin in southern Peru as a case study to monitor glacier-ecosystem-livelihood interactions with a broad consortium of local partners and policy stakeholders in order to implement robust adaptation strategies. Imperial is in charge of the hydrological catchment monitoring and overall project coordination.

Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council (UK) and CONCYTEC (Peru)

Citizen Science for Landslide Risk Reduction and Disaster Resilience building in Mountain Regions (LandslideEVO)

Landslide-VO leverages recent technological and conceptual breakthroughs in environmental data collection, processing and communication to lead to enhanced community-level resilience building to floods and landslides. We work with two vulnerable communities in the remote Upper Karnali Basin, western Nepal, where natural hazards cause serious damage to local infrastructure and livelihoods. The Imperial team has developed and deployed a range of equipment for monitoring e.g. river level and precipitation, whose data will eventually be fed into existing community-based early warning systems (EWS), to develop a multi-hazard EWS and knowledge exchange platform.

Funded by: Natural Environment Research Council and DFIF, UK

More projects can be found on our projects page