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Manchester Environmental Research Institute

Close up of sea water

Managing the world's water resources

Water is critical to all life on Earth, underpinning everything from food production to energy generation and transportation. It also sustains our natural ecosystems which we all rely upon for diverse goods and services.

Our research is helping to design policies, technologies, and infrastructure that enable sustainable, equitable, and resilient management of freshwater in the UK and internationally.

Tim Foster / Managing the world's water resources theme lead

However, water scarcity is increasing in many regions worldwide. A combination of rising human demand, pollution and degradation of freshwater ecosystems, and changes in water availability due to climate change all contribute to this problem.

This theme brings together academics from all University Faculties with partners from industry, government, civil society groups, NGOs, and environmental organisations to improve understanding, prediction, and management of our changing water cycle.


Our research expertise

Our research is challenge led and brings together a wide variety of experts operating across disciplines. This research is focused around three main areas:

  • Clean water and sanitation – developing technological and institutional solutions to mitigate risks of water pollution and increase access to safe, sufficient and affordable water for drinking, sanitation and hygiene
  • Resilient catchments and hydrological extremes – developing our understanding of water cycle dynamics, how processes are responding to climate and land use change, and how natural and built infrastructure can support resilience to floods and droughts
  • Water security and sustainable development – identifying challenges and solutions to sustainably manage and govern competing demands for limited freshwater resources from human uses and the environment

Our research highlights

  • farmer bending down to plant rice paddy stood in water
  • close up of graphene membrane
  • two men filtering water through plastic bins in a river
  • two cars submerged under flood water
  • brown wheat and green corn field split in half
  • man washing hands under running water
  • water flowing down a dam
  • aerial view of african city

Hear from our researchers

Read about our latest water research: