David Walker

‌David Walker - d.w.walker1@newcastle.ac.uk

 

PhD Title:

Vulnerability of Shallow Groundwater and Surface Water Resources used for Irrigation in Rural Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa to Climate Variability and Change

 

PhD Project Details:

The aim of my PhD is to develop improved understanding of shallow groundwater resources across sub-Saharan Africa.  Assessment of the vulnerability of the shallow groundwater will enable development of strategies for local communities to manage their own resource.

 

The principal research is being conducted for two field sites; in Amhara region of Ethiopia and Limpopo province of South Africa.  The research involves field hydrogeological investigations (e.g. well/spring/river surveys, pumping and recovery tests, ground-truthing satellite imagery, geological surveys, groundwater sampling for chemistry, stable-isotope and radon-222 analysis, workshops with local communities, etc), recharge assessments, climate data analysis, and numerical modelling; including simulation of the impacts of future changes to climate, land-use and increased abstraction.

The project links large-scale hydrometeorological data to local scale data collected by the community.  The community-based monitoring programme provides additional benefits to the local community such as instilling a sense of partnership in the project and ownership of their resource as well as increasing their hydrological understanding.

 

Data from additional field sites is being sought from collaborators (currently have access to data from Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Niger, Benin and other locations within Ethiopia) to evaluate the transferability of the findings across sub-Saharan Africa.  This final aspect of the PhD will determine the level of detailed study, modelling and monitoring required to obtain sufficient understanding of the resource to enable management by the local community.

 

Supervisors:

Dr Geoff Parkin

John Gowing

 

Sponsors:

Funded by SAgE Faculty – DTA Programme

 

Partners:

The project is in collaboration with IWMI (International Water Management Institute) who provide in-country support when conducting field work.

 

Related Outputs:

‘Shallow Groundwater in Sub-Saharan Africa: Neglected Opportunity for sustainable Intensification of Small-Scale Agriculture’ (co-author) – In Press

 

‘Validation of Hydrometeorological Data from a Community-Based Monitoring Programme in Highland Ethiopia’ (lead author) – In Press

 

‘The Vulnerability of Shallow Groundwater Resources used for Irrigation in Rural Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa to Climate Variability and Change’, Sub-Saharan Africa Research Society (SARS) Annual Conference, Newcastle, UK, November 2015 - Presentation

 

‘Community Monitoring for Shallow Groundwater Assessment in Dangesheta kebele, Dangila woreda’ - permanently displayed at the Dangila woreda office and the Dangesheta kebele office, Ethiopia, since March 2015 - Poster

 

‘The Vulnerability of Shallow Groundwater Resources used for Irrigation in Rural Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa to Climate Variability and Change woreda’ - presented at the UK’s first Early Career Hydrogeologists’ Conference, Newcastle, UK, July 2015 – Poster.

‘The Vulnerability of Shallow Groundwater Resources used for Irrigation in Rural Communities in Sub-Saharan Africa to Climate Variability and Change woreda’ (updated from the previous poster)

Presented at the “Celebrating Research Scholarships and Presentations Reception”, Newcastle, UK, November 2015 and Presented at the Sub-Saharan Africa Research Society (SARS) Annual Conference, Newcastle, UK, November 2015 – Poster.

 

Biography:

David has worked as a hydrogeologist and senior engineer for various engineering consultancies.  Projects have included construction of heap leach pads at a Mexican gold mine, a water balance for a gold mine in Azerbaijan, a hydrogeological risk assessment for a hydrocarbon-contaminated sand facility in Kuwait, and numerous construction projects at UK landfill sites.

He has lived and worked on five continents and speaks English (mother tongue) and Spanish at advanced level.

 

David received an MSc (distinction) in hydrogeology from the University of Birmingham and a BSc (2:1) in environmental geology from the University of Leeds.  He has been successful in applications for additional fieldwork funding from the Harry Collinson Travel Scholarship (Newcastle University) and the Dudley Stamp Memorial Award (Royal Geographical Society).  He was a poster prize winner at the “Celebrating Research Scholarships and Presentations Reception”, Newcastle, UK, November 2015.