- Professor of Water Policy
- Director of the Water Programme
Professor Rob Hope is Director of the Water Security Initiative at the School of Geography and the Environment, Director of the Water Programme at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and Lead of the Smart Water Systems group (with Engineering Science). His research interests focus on water policy, poverty and economics, largely in Africa and Asia. He is Director of the REACH programme, a member of ESRC's International Development Expert Group for the Global Challenges Research Programme, and is a member of an expert consultative group on global monitoring and WASH affordability convened by UNICEF and the WHO.
In 2018, the Smart Water Systems' group won the inaugural, University of Oxford's Vice Chancellor's Innovation Award for the 'smart handpumps' project. He has won competitive research grants from the UK Research and Innovation (NERC, ESRC), DFID, UNICEF, USAID, the World Bank, the Skoll Foundation and the Gates Foundation. He teaches on the MSc Water Science, Policy and Management and supervises a small group of outstanding DPhil/PhD students. He is a founding Trustee of Water Services Maintenance Trust Fund in Kenya and is co-Director of Oxwater Ltd.
Smart Water Systems
The Smart Water Systems group was established in 2010 as an interdisciplinary collaboration between the School of Geography and the Environment and Department of Engineering Science to explore, test and implement new models, methods and social enterprises to improve water services for the poor. Scientific expertise in development economics, institutional theory, frugal engineering and machine learning has guided new technological and methodological techniques based on mobile technologies and data analytics to inform policy and practice. Outputs of the group's work include the world's first 'smart handpump', a patent for non-intrusive, estimation of aquifer depth, the design and incubation of social enterprises in Kenya, design and legal registration of two Water Services Maintenance Trust Funds in Kenya, and wider testing and adaption of the ideas under the FundiFix model to Bangladesh and other countries facing similar challenges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of universal and affordable water for all by 2030. The research has been featured by The Economist, BBC, Daily Telegraph, the Guardian and other global and national media. In 2015, the work was awarded the World Water Week poster prize.
A portfolio of research grants has supported this work, including:
- Sustainable WASH Systems Learning Partnership (USAID, 2017-21)
- Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development (NERC/ESRC/DFID, 2015-19)
- Engineering innovations to predict handpump failure (UNICEF, Supply Division, 2016-18)
- Rural Water Sustainability (UNICEF, East and Southern African Regional Office, 2014-16)
- Insuring against rural water risk in Africa (ESRC/DFID, 2013-17)
- New mobile citizens and rural waterpoint sustainability in Africa (ESRC/DFID, 2012-15)
- Smart Water Systems (DFID, 2010-14)
Water Security for the Poor
The REACH programme aims to improve water security for at least five million poor people by 2022. Funded by UK DFID's Research and Evidence Division, the programme is led by the University of Oxford in partnership with IFPFI, IRC, IWA, RWSN and UNICEF, and national academic, government and private sector partners in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Kenya. A risk-based approach is developing and testing interdisciplinary science in Observatory sites in the three focus countries to understand, evaluate and implement improved policy and practice to improve water security outcomes for the poor. Partnership Funding has expanded the expertise and engagement of the programme with a range of research and non-government collaborators outside the focus countries. In March 2019, Oxford will host REACH's annual, international conference on Water Security and Poverty (https://reachwater.org.uk/events/)
Current Graduate Research Students
Do new information flows influence better water institutions in fragile states? Exploring the contingent relationships between decision-makers and measurement technologies
Geospatially distributed impacts of mining and irrigation on water growth and development in Kwale, Kenya
Democracy, decentralisation and development in Kenya: an assessment of structural change in the water sector
Socio-legal approaches to regulate urban river water security in South Asia
Pathways to Water Security: Evaluating the impacts of irrigation investments in Madhya Pradesh, India
Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)
Completed DPhil in 2016
From cash flows to water flows: an assessment of financial risks to rural water supply sustainability in sub-Saharan Africa
Completed DPhil in 2014
Women and work in irrigated landscapes in rural India
Completed DPhil in 2014
Mobile-enabled payments methods and public service delivery in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Completed DPhil in 2014
Corporate water risk and return
Completed DPhil in 2013
Burning water - the state, irrigation technology and the production of scarcity in Spain
Completed DPhil in 2012
Living with environmental change in the endorheic oasis systems of the northern Sahara
- Thomson, P., Bradley, D., Katilu, A., Katuva, J., Lanzoni, M., Koehler, J. and Hope, R. (2019) Rainfall and groundwater use in rural Kenya. Science of The Total Environment, 649: 722-730.
- Foster, T., Willetts, J., Lane, M., Thomson, P., Katuva, J. and Hope, R. (2018) Risk factors associated with rural water supply failure: A 30-year retrospective study of handpumps on the south coast of Kenya. Science of The Total Environment, 626: 156-164.
- Hirpa, F.A., Dyer, E., Hope, R., Olago, D.O. and Dadson, S.J. (2018) Finding sustainable water futures in data-sparse regions under climate change: Insights from the Turkwel River basin, Kenya. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 19: 124-135.
- Hoque, S.F. and Hope, R. (2018) The water diary method – proof-of-concept and policy implications for monitoring water use behaviour in rural Kenya. Water Policy.
- Koehler, J., Rayner, S., Katuva, J., Thomson, P. and Hope, R. (2018) A cultural theory of drinking water risks, values and institutional change. Global Environmental Change, 50: 268-277.
- Shand, P., Darling, W.G., Smedley, P.L., Bath, A.H., Mather, J., Melo, T., Hinsby, K., Whitehead, P.G. and Hope, R. (2018) Professor W Mike Edmunds: a pioneer in applied hydrogeochemistry and champion of international collaboration. Hydrogeology Journal, 21(1): 351-356.
- Sinha, R., Gilmont, M., Hope, R. and Dadson, S. (2018) Understanding the effectiveness of investments in irrigation system modernization: evidence from Madhya Pradesh, India. International Journal of Water Resources Development.
- Whitehead, P.G., Bussi, G., Hossain, M.A., Dolk, M., Das, P., Comber, S., Peters, R., Charles, K.J., Hope, R., Hossain, S. (2018) Restoring water quality in the polluted Turag-Tongi-Balu river system, Dhaka: Modelling nutrient and total coliform intervention strategies. Science of The Total Environment.
- Colchester, F.E., Marais, H.G., Thomson, P., Hope, R. and Clifton, D.A. (2017) Accidental infrastructure for groundwater monitoring in Africa. Environmental Modelling and Software, 91: 241-250.
- Foster, T. and Hope, R. (2017) Evaluating waterpoint sustainability and access implications of revenue collection approaches in rural Kenya. Water Resources Research, 53(2): 1473-1490.
- Garrick, D.E., Hall, J.W., Dobson, A., Damania, R., Grafton, R.Q., Hope, R., Hepburn, C., Bark, R., Boltz, F., De Stefano, L., O'Donnell, E., Matthews, N. and Money, A. (2017) Valuing water for sustainable development. Science, 358(6366): 1003-1005.
- Foster, T. and Hope, R. (2016) A multi-decadal and social-ecological systems analysis of community waterpoint payment behaviours in rural Kenya. Journal of Rural Studies, 47(A): 85-96.
- Kovacs, E.K., Kumar, C., Agarwal, C., Adams, W.M., Hope, R.A. and Vira, B. (2016) The politics of negotiation and implementation: a reciprocal water access agreement in the Himalayan foothills, India. Ecology and Society, 21(2): 37.
- Hope, R. (2015) Is community water management the community’s choice? Implications for water and development policy in Africa. Water Policy, 17(4): 664-678.
- Koehler, J., Thomson, P. and Hope, R. (2015) Pump-priming payments for sustainable water services in rural Africa. World Development, 74: 397-411.
- Hall, J., Grey, D., Garrick, D., Dadson, S. and Hope, R. (2013) Preface. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 371(2002): 1-2. This is one article from the Theme Issue ‘Water security, risk and society’.
- Hope, R. and Rouse, M. (2013) Risks and responses to universal drinking water security. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A, 371(2002): 1-23. This is one article from the Theme Issue ‘Water security, risk and society’..
- Foster, T., Hope, R., Thomas, M., Cohen, I., Krolikowski, A. and Nyaga, C. (2012) Impacts and implications of mobile water payments in East Africa. Water International, 37(7): 788-804.
- Hope, R., Foster, T. and Thomson, P. (2012) Reducing risks to rural water security in Africa. Ambio, 41(7): 773-776.
- Hope, R.A., Foster, T., Money, A. and Rouse, M. (2012) Harnessing mobile communications innovations for water security. Global Policy, 3(4): 433-442.
- Thomson, P., Hope, R. and Foster, T. (2012) GSM-enabled remote monitoring of rural handpumps: a proof-of-concept study. Journal of Hydroinformatics, 14(4): 829-839.
- Thomson, P., Hope, R. and Foster, T. (2012) Is silence golden? Of mobiles, monitoring and rural water supplies. Waterlines, 31(4): 280-292.
- Vira, B., Adams, W., Agarwal, C., Badiger, S., Hope, R.A., Krishnaswamy, J. and Kumar, C. (2012) Negotiating trade-offs: making informed choices for ecosystem services. Economic and Political Weekly, XLVII(9): 67-75.
- Hope, R.A., Frost, P.G.H., Gardiner, A. and Ghazoul, J. (2009) Experimental analysis of adoption of domestic mopane worm farming technology in Zimbabwe. Development Southern Africa, 26(1): 29-46.
- Hope, R., Borgoyary, M. and Agarwal, C. (2008) Smallholder preferences for agri-environmental change at the Bhoj wetland, India. Development Policy Review, 26(5): 585-602.
- Hope, R.A., Jewitt, G.P.W. and Gowing, J.W. (2008) The contested future of irrigation in African rural livelihoods - analysis from a water scarce catchment in South Africa. Water Policy, 10(2): 173-192.
- Hope, R. (2017) A poor choice? Public policy, social choice and the right to water. In, Langford, M. and Russell, A.F.S. (eds.) The Human Right to Water. Cambridge University Press. pp. 601-602. ISBN: 9780511862601.
- Koehler, J., Thomson, P. and Hope, R. (2016) Mobilizing Payments for Water Service Sustainability. Chap. 6 in, Thomas, E.A. (ed.) Broken Pumps and Promises: Incentivizing Impact in Environmental Health. Springer International Publishing. pp. 57-76. ISBN: 978-3-319-28641-9.
- Hope, R. and Rouse, M. (2014) Risks and Responses to Universal Drinking Water Security. Ch. 39 in, Jägerskog, A., Swain, A. and Öjendal, J. (eds.) Water Security, Vol. 3: Water Security and Development. SAGE Publications Ltd. pp. 155-182. ISBN: 9781446293928. SAGE Library of International Security Series..
- Garrick, D. and Hope, R.A. (2013) Water security risk and response: the logic and limits of economic instruments. In, Lankford, B., Bakker, K., Zeitoun, M. and Conway, D. (eds.) Water Security - Principles, Perspectives and Practices. Routledge, London. 376 pp. ISBN: 978-0-415-53471-0.
- Edmunds, W.M. and Hope, R.A. (2010) Water sustainability and security in Africa. Chapter 7 in, Agyeman-Duah, I. (ed.) Pilgrims of the Night: Development challenges and opportunities in Africa. Ayebia Clarke Publishing Limited. 224 pp. ISBN: 9780956240156.
- Hope, R.A., Borgoyary, M. and Agarwal, C. (2009) Incentives that work for farmers and wetlands. In, Kumar, P. and Muradian, R. (eds.) Payment for Ecosystem Services. Oxford University Press, Delhi. 324 pp. ISBN: 9780195698749.
- Foster, T. and Hope, R. (2018) A critical mass analysis of community-based financing of water services in rural Kenya.
- Foster, T. and Hope, R. (2018) Evaluating waterpoint sustainability and access implications of revenue collection approaches in rural Kenya.
- Foster, T., Hope, R. (2018) A multi-decadal and social-ecological systems analysis of community waterpoint behaviours in rural Kenya.
- Colchester, F.E., Greeff, H., Thomson, P., Hope, R. and Clifton, D.A. (2014) Smart Handpumps: A Preliminary Data Analysis. IET Appropriate Healthcare Technologies (AHT), London.. 1-4.
- Hope, R., Foster, T., Krolikowski, A. and Cohen, I. (2011) Mobile water payment innovations in urban Africa. School of Geography and the Environment and Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Saïd Business School, Oxford University, Oxford, UK. 35 pp.
- Hope, R., Foster, T., Money, A., Rouse, M., Money, N. and Thomas, M. (2011) Smart Water Systems. Oxford University, Oxford. 14 pp. Project report to UK DFID, April 2011.
- Mayers, J., Batchelor, C., Bond, I., Hope, R., Morrison, E. and Wheeler, B. (2009) Water ecosystem services and poverty under climate change: key issues and research priorities. International Institute for Environment and Development, London. 75 pp. ISBN: 978-1-84369-687-2. Natural Resource Issues, 17.