PhD High-resolution water resource modelling to better quantify human water interactions within...

Updated: 4 months ago
Job Type: Temporary
Deadline: 01 Jul 2022

As part of the European project SOS-WATER, we are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate who is interested in applying hydrological models to make novel high resolution water simulations over the European continent.
Water scarcity, water quality degradation and the loss of freshwater biodiversity are critical environmental challenges worldwide, which have primarily been driven by a significant increase in water withdrawals during the last century. In the coming decades, climate and societal changes are projected to further exacerbate these challenges in many regions around the world. As such, defining a safe operating space (SOS) for water resources in a changing climate and society is urgently needed to ensure a sufficient and reliable supply of water of a quality acceptable for human activity and natural ecosystems.

The large SOS-Water project is a multi-disciplinary project executed by a consortium of ten organisations in eight countries that aims to create the foundation for a holistic and participatory assessment framework of the SOS for the entire water resources system, accounting concurrently for all relevant water dimensions across multiple sectors and spatial scales under the influence of socio-economic, policy, technological, and climatic changes. This framework will help to operationalise and downscale the global freshwater SOS to the continental and river basin levels and to ultimately streamline water planning and management at local to regional levels and beyond such that the allocation of water among societies, economies, and ecosystems will be economically efficient, socially fair, and resilient to shocks.

What will you be doing?
In many areas of the world, water resources are overexploited, leading to the depletion of water volumes in aquifers, reservoirs and rivers. This, in turn, leads to greater pressure on the remaining water resources and more water scarcity indifferent sectors. As a PhD, you will develop new methods that analyse the impact of increased water demand on the availability and use of the remaining fresh water resources. You will take into account the water demand for different sectors and the changing hydrological conditions as a result of climate change. You will incorporate these processes in a state-of-the-art global hydrological model (PCR-GLOBWB) developed by the hydrology group in Utrecht. Your model developments will be validated and tested against local observations and knowledge for different case study regions in Europe in close collaboration with our consortium partners. For a number of hotspot regions, you will perform further in-depth analyses that will be supported by high-resolution simulations of your improved modelling framework and compared to other modelling efforts by our project partners.

These results will elucidate trade-offs between different water source and the impact of hydrological extremes on the water scarcity. You will collaborate closely with the other consortium partners within Europe as well as local PhDs and software support engineers who are working on the model developments within our large-scale hydrological modelling efforts.

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