Events Archive

Please see our events webpage for forthcoming events.

Can more data reduce poverty?

17 October 2018 | Evening event showcasing Oxford’s Smart Handpump research.

Delivering reliable drinking water to millions of rural people in Africa and Asia is an elusive and enduring global goal. A systematic information deficit on the performance of and demand for infrastructure investments limits policy design and development outcomes


  • Professor David Clifton, Department of Engineering Science (IBME)
  • Heloise Greeff, Department of Engineering Science (IBME)
  • Patrick Thomson, School of Geography and the Environment (SSEE)
  • Professor Rob Hope, School of Geography and the Environment (SSEE)

Valuing Water for Sustainable Development

7 November 2017, Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford

Addressing global development challenges requires valuing and managing water effectively. Achieving universal, safely managed water and sanitation by 2030 is projected to require capital expenditures of USD 114 billion per year. Investment on this scale, along with the accompanying policy reforms to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), can be motivated by a growing appreciation of the value of water. The OECD Roundtable on Finance, UN/World Bank High Level Panel on Water, and initiatives across the developing world create a global opportunity to rethink how we value water and to take stock of rapidly changing models and approaches for financing and allocation.

Join us in Oxford, on 7 November, for a one-day forum to advance new approaches to water valuation, finance and allocation. This forum will convene enterprise, development and government partners to advance action and learning from global experiences.

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Water Security Conference 2015

9-11 December 2015 | Oxford Martin School and St Catherine's College | Oxford

Water security has rapidly emerged as a defining global and local challenge to promote economic growth, human development and resource sustainability. Achieving and maintaining water security requires balancing often competing goals in an increasingly complex landscape of demographic, climatic, environmental, political, economic and social change.

This three-day conference convenes leading global thinkers and practitioners from government, enterprise, civil society and academia to advance and debate risk-based analysis of water security.

The conference will: discuss how a risk-based framework charts pathways to sustainable growth and reduce poverty; review the state of water security knowledge in Africa and South Asia; help build a global science-practitioner partnership to design new approaches to sustainably deliver water security for millions of poor people.

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Knowledge and Learning Discussion: Improving Water Security for the Poor

30 June 2015 | Jamuna Conference Room | World Bank Office | Dhaka | Bangladesh

Water security has been identified as a leading global risk in terms of development impact. Improved understanding of the likelihood and consequences of risks are critical to improve policy design and effective investment decisions to balance sustainable growth with poverty reduction and resource sustainability. REACH is a global program of research to improve water security for the poor funded by DFID and led by Oxford University in partnership with UNICEF with scientific collaboration in Bangladesh led by BUET, University of Dhaka and ICDDR, B. New thinking and methodologies will frame a seven year program in a science-practitioner partnership to promote a risk-based framework linking research and practice in South Asia with Africa.

For more information please see the REACH Inception Report (June 2015) and visit

Water Management & Markets Event

1 June 2015 | SaÏd Business School| Park End Street | OX1 1HP

This first event for the Saïd Business School's Water Management & Markets GOTO topic place takes place from 13.30 - 17.00, Monday 1st June 2015 and focuses on Corporate Water Risk and Return.

There is no substitute to water as a factor of production. But the risks associated with delay, disruption or denial of supply are often poorly understood. This session engages with corporate water risk, an increasingly dominant aspect of corporate stewardship.

A panel - drawn from globally recognised experts - will present their perspectives. But this session is principally about audience engagement. Questions are not merely welcomed: they are mandatory. This is a unique opportunity to connect with specialist practitioners.

  • Laurent Bellet, Water and Energy Advisor, EDF Group
  • Piet Klop, Senior Advisor - Responsible Investment, PGGM
  • Cate Lamb, Head of the Water Programme, Carbon Disclosure Project
  • Alexandre Le Vernoy, Analyst: Water & Food Resources, SABMiller plc
  • Conor Linstead, Freshwater Specialist, WWF-UK
  • Felix Ockborn, CSR Manager, Bergans of Norway

Moderated by Dr Alex Money, Research Fellow, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford.

Water risk is of course not new. But the dynamics that drive the supply and demand of water resources in corporate supply chains are evolving rapidly. Corporate water risk derives from a mosaic of interdependent variables including demographics, urbanisation, globalisation, climate change and pollution. The World Economic Forum now classifies water crises as the world's biggest risk in terms of impact over the next ten years. In this session, experts from industry, finance, and policy advisory will place corporate water risk into the context of stakeholder engagement. They will present the challenges faced, and invite you to debate the potential solutions. If you have an interest in investment management, corporate activity, policy making, or sustainability issues, make sure that you're part of the discussion!

This event is being curated by Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment in collaboration with SaÏd Business School for the GOTO Project.

Water Management & Markets Event - Open to All

27 April 2015 | Saïd Business School| Park End Street | OX1 1HP

This first event for the Saïd Business School's Water Management & Markets GOTO topic place takes place in Trinity week 1, 13.30 - 16.30, Monday 27th April 2015 and focuses on 'Water Challenges: Science, Services, and Society'.

Water security is a defining global challenge to society in the 21st century. Absent or unreliable water and sanitation services, unpredictable floods and droughts, and degraded ecosystems threaten the lives of many of the world's population, and pose increasing risk to businesses and governments.

Although water is scarce, there is enough to provide water security for all - but only if we manage it adequately. Good water governance requires the involvement and integration of all sectors: public, private and non-profit. In order to make smart and effective decisions, governments, businesses, international agencies, and investors must thus understand the current state of our water resources, and how these will change over the short and longer term.

This event will gather leading academics and practitioners from the water sector to discuss the science, management and governance of water; technological innovations; and how individuals can connect to the issue and create change. It is being curated by Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment in collaboration with Saïd Business School for the GOTO Project.

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Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development - Workshop

23 March 2015 | Leopard Beach Hotel | Diani, Kwale County | Kenya

Improved understanding of groundwater risks and institutional responses against competing growth and development goals is central to accelerating and sustaining Africa's development. Kwale County Government is responding to the challenges of improving water security under rapid climate, economic, environmental and political change. The coastal aquifer system in southern Kwale faces a unique set of challenges to balance the demands of irrigated agriculture and mining with existing demands from tourism and community water supplies. In 2013 an international team of researchers led by Oxford University has worked with partners from Kwale County Government, the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB), Rural Focus Ltd, JKUAT, University of Nairobi, Base Titanium Ltd. and Kwale International Sugar Company (KISCOL) and UPC (Spain) to improve the understanding and governance of the groundwater resources to promote growth and development whilst conserving the resource base. The research aims to provide evidence of new approaches to promote water security, growth and development.

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Africa, Dams and Development

24 November 2014 | Lecture Theatre | Oxford Martin School

Africa faces formidable development challenges in the 21st Century, with expanding populations and accelerating urbanisation; rising demand for water, energy and food; greater hydrological variability predicted with climate change; and persistent poverty and inequalities. Dams seem to promise an appealing package of benefits to meet Africa's development needs - they can reduce floods, store water for irrigation, provide energy for burgeoning populations and facilitate regional integration. Yet, the benefits and costs of dams are not distributed evenly and new large dams are planned that could alter the political, social and water landscape of the region. What is the role for dams in Africa's development? Can they give African countries the boost they need for growth and poverty alleviation, or will they only serve to exacerbate environmental problems, conflict and existing inequalities?

Moderated by Dr Rob Hope, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.

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Groundwater Risks and Institutional Responses for Growth and Development

28 November 2014 | 203 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NJ

The event will highlight the UPGro programme (Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor), funded by DFID, NERC and ESRC. It will also be an opportunity for other groundwater researchers and practitioners to share and discuss their work. Groundwater will be examined from the points of view of the natural and social sciences, engineering, management and governance.

Questions to be addressed include:

  • What do we know about the dependence of the rural and urban poor on groundwater?
  • How does dependence on groundwater contribute to people's water security or vulnerability?
  • How can groundwater be developed and managed in order to better enhance water security?
  • What do we know about the threats to groundwater as a resource?
  • What are the limitations on the development of groundwater for domestic water security and food security?
  • How can institutional arrangements for the monitoring, management and governance of groundwater be improved?
  • How can we foster an understanding and appreciation, among political leaders, of the value, opportunities and limitations of groundwater?

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