Professor Richard G. Taylor
New! Fears over Uganda's disappearing glaciers (Al-Jazeera)
New! Intense rain recharges tropical aquifers (ERL News)
GroFutures (NERC-ESRC-DFID UPGro Programme)
AfriWatSan (The Royal Society & DFID Africa Capacity Strengthening Initiative)
The Chronicles Consortium (IAH & UNESCO-IHP)
IAH Commission on Groundwater & Climate Change
UNESCO-IHP GRAPHIC Project
UCL Department of Geography
Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT
Tel: +44 (0)207 679 0591
Fax: +44 (0)207 679 0565
Office: Room 109, Pearson Building
Term 1 Office hours: Mondays (3pm to 5pm) & Wednesdays (9am to 10am)
1991 - 1998 Ph.D., Department of Geology, University of Toronto, Canada
thesis: Tectonically controlled landscape evolution and its relation to the lithology, hydrology and hydrogeology of weathered crystalline rock in Uganda
1986 - 1990 B.Sc. (Hons.) Chemistry, Queen's University, Canada
2013 - now, Professor of Hydrogeology, Department of Geography, University College London, UK
2009 - 2013, Reader in Hydrogeology, Department of Geography, University College London, UK
2000 - 2002, NSERC Canada Post-Doctoral Fellow, University College London, UK
2000 - 2002, 2000 Canada-UK Millennium Fellowship, University College London, UK
2000 - 2009, Lecturer in Physical Geography, Department of Geography, University College London, UK
2009 - 2011, Adjunct Professor, European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights & Democratisation, Italy
2002 - now, Adjunct Professor in Geology, Makerere University, Uganda
1998 - 2000, NERC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Robens Centre for Public & Environmental Health, UK
1995 - 1999, Consultant Hydrogeologist, DANIDA, World Bank, Uganda
1995 Course Lecturer, Environmental Sciences Division, University of Toronto, Canada
1994 Course Lecturer, Department of Geology, Makerere University, Uganda
1994 Water Supply Advisor, Canadian Physicians for Aid and Relief, Uganda & Rwanda
Professional bodies & committees
- Co-Chair, IAH Commission on Groundwater & Climate Change
- Expert Panel, UNESCO-IHP GRAPHIC Programme (Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity & Climate Change)
- Expert Reviewer, IPCC 5th Assessment Report
- Associate Editor, PLoSONE
- Co-Chair, Groundwater & Climate in Africa Conference (2008)
- Fellow, Geological Society (FGS)
- Member, International Association of Hydrologeologists
- Fellow, Royal Geographical Society
Peer review for academic journals
- Nature, Environmental Research Letters, Geophysical Research Letters, Hydrology & Earth System Science, Hydrological Sciences Journal, Journal of Hydrology, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, Hydrological Processes, Applied Geochemistry, Quaternary Science Reviews, Hydrogeology Journal, International Journal of Climatology, Water Policy, Journal of African Earth Sciences, Waterlines, Water International
Peer review of grants
- Swiss National Science Foundation (2013)
- The Belmont Forum (2013)
- The Royal Society International Exchanges Programme (2012-2015)
- START Grants for Global Environmental Change Research in Africa (2009)
- The British Academy (2008)
- STEREOII programme, Belgian Science Policy (2006)
- The Leverhulme Trust (2003)
- European Commission (DG X11/DI-2) Grant Applications (2000)
- MacDonald, A.M, Bonsor, H.C., Ahmed, K.M., Burgess, W.G., Basharat, M., Calow, R.C., Dixit, A., Foster, S.S.D., Gopal, K., Lapworth, D.J., Lark, R.M., Moench, M., Mukherjee, A., Rao, M.S., Shamsudduha, M., Smith, L., Taylor, R.G., Tucker, J., van Steenbergen, F. and Yadav, S.K., 2016. Groundwater quality and depletion in the Indo-Gangetic Basin mapped from in situ observations. Nature Geoscience, doi: 10.1038/ngeo2791.
- Zeitoun, M., Lankford, B., Krueger, T., Forsyth, T., Carter, R., Hoekstra, A.Y., Taylor, R.G., Varish, O., Cleaver, F., Boelens, R., Swatuk, L., Tickner, D., Scott, C.A., Mirumachi, N., and Matthews, N., 2016. Reductionist and integrative research approaches to complex water security policy challenges. Global Environmental Change, Vol. 39, 143-154
- Jasechko, S. and Taylor, R.G., 2015. Intensive rainfall recharges tropical groundwaters. Environmental Research Letters, Vol, 10, 124015.
- Mukherjee, A., Sahab, D., Harvey, C.F., Taylor, R.G., Ahmed, K.M., and Bhanja, S.N., 2015. Groundwater systems of the Indian Sub-Continent. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, Vol. 4, 1-14.
- Shamsudduha, M., Taylor, R.G., and Chandler, R., 2015. A generalised regression model of arsenic variations in the shallow groundwater of Bangladesh. Water Resources Research, Vol. 51, 685-703.
- Taylor, R.G., 2014. When wells run dry. Nature, Vol. 516, 179-180.
- Taylor, R.G., Scanlon, B.R., Doell, P., Rodell, M., van Beek, L., Wada, Y., Longuevergne, L., LeBlanc, M., Famiglietti, J.S., Edmunds, M., Konikow, L., Green, T., Chen, J., Taniguchi, M., Bierkens, M.F.P., MacDonald, A., Fan Y., Maxwell, R., Yechieli, Y., Gurdak, J., Allen, D., Shamsudduha, M., Hiscock, K., Yeh, P., Holman, I. and Treidel, H., 2013. Groundwater and climate change. Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, 322-329.
- Taylor, R.G., Todd, M., Kongola, L., Nahozya, E., Maurice, L., Sanga, H. and MacDonald, A., 2013. Evidence of the dependence of groundwater resources on extreme rainfall in East Africa. Nature Climate Change, Vol. 3, 374-378.
- MacDonald, A., Taylor, R.G. and Bonsor, H.C., 2012. Groundwater in Africa – is there sufficient water to support the intensification of agriculture from Land Grabs? In: J.A. Allan, M. Keulertz, S. Sojamo and J. Warner (Eds.), Handbook on Land and Water Grabs in Africa: foreign direct investment and food and water security. Routledge, Section IV, Chapter 3, pp. 376-383.
- MacDonald, A., Bonsor, H.C., O Dochartaigh, B.E. and Taylor, R.G., 2012. Quantitative maps of groundwater resources in Africa. Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 7, 024009.
- Shamsudduha, M., Taylor, R.G., and Longuevergne, L., 2012. Monitoring groundwater storage changes in the Bengal Basin: validation of GRACE measurements. Water Resources Research, Vol. 48, W02508.
- Flynn, R. Taylor, R.G., Kulabako, R., and Miret-Gaspa, M., 2012. Haematite in lateritic soils aids groundwater disinfection. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, Vol. 223, 2405-2416.
- Taylor, R.G. and Tindimugaya, C., 2012. The impacts of climate change and rapid development on weathered crystalline rock aquifer systems in the humid tropics: evidence from southwestern Uganda. In: International Contributions to Hydrogeology, Vol. 27, Climate change effects on groundwater resources: a global-scale synthesis of findings and recommendations, (eds. H. Treidel, J. Luis-Bordes and J. Gurdak). CRC Press (Chapter 2), pp. 17-32.
- Owor, M., Taylor, R.G., Mukwaya, C. and Tindimugaya, C., 2011. Groundwater - surface water interactions on deeply weathered surfaces of low relief: evidence from Lakes Victoria and Kyoga. Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 19, 1403-1420.
- Shamsudduha, M., Taylor, R.G., Ahmed, K.M. and Zahid, A., 2011. The impact of intensive groundwater abstraction on recharge to a shallow regional aquifer system: evidence from Bangladesh. Hydrogeology Journal, Vol. 19, 901-916.
- Todd, M.C., Taylor, R.G., Osborn, T., Kingston, D., Arnell, N.W. and Gosling, S., 2011. Quantifying the impact of climate change on water resources at the basin scale on five continents – a unified approach. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 15, 1035-1046.
- Gosling, S.N., Taylor, R.G., Arnell, N.W. and M. C. Todd, 2011. A comparative analysis of projected impacts of climate change on river runoff from global and catchment-scale hydrological models. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 15, pp. 279-294.
- Xu, H., Taylor, R.G. and Y. Xu, 2011. Quantifying uncertainty in the impacts of climate change on river discharge in sub-catchments of the River Yangtze and Yellow Basins, China. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 15, pp. 333-344.
- Taylor, R., Longuevergne, L., Harding, R., Todd, M., Hewitson, B., Lall, U., Hiscock, K., Treidel, H., Dev Sharma, K., Kukuric, N., Struckmeier, W. and Shamsudduha, M., 2010. Groundwater and global hydrological change – current challenges and new insight. In: Hydrocomplexity: New Tools for Solving Wicked Water Problems, Proceedings of the Xth Kovacs Colloquium, edited S. Khan and H. Savenije. IAHS Publication No. 338, pp. 48-58.
- Kingston, D. and Taylor, R.G., 2010. Projected impacts of climate change on groundwater and stormflow in a humid, tropical catchment in the Ugandan Upper Nile Basin. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 14, pp. 1297-1308.
- McGlynn, G., Mackay, A.W., Rose, N.L., Taylor, R.G., M. Leng and Engstrom D.R., 2010. Palaeolimnological evidence of environmental change over the last 400 years in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda. Hydrobiologia, Vol. 648, pp. 109-122.
- Xu, H., Taylor, R.G., Kingston, D.G., Jiang, T., Thompson, J. and Todd, M.C., 2010. Hydrological modeling of the River Xiangxi (China) using SWAT2005: a comparison of model parameterizations using station and gridded meteorological observations. Quaternary International, Vol. 226, pp. 54-59.
- Todd M.C., Andersson, L., Ambrosino, C., Hughes, D., Kniveton, D., Mileham, L., Murray-Hudson, M., Raghavan, S., Taylor, R.G., and Wolski, P., 2010. Climate change impacts on hydrology in Africa: Case studies of river basin water resources. In: African Climate and Climate Change: Physical, Social and Political Perspectives, edited by C. Williams and D. Kniveton. Springer, Chapter 6, pp. 123-154.
- Taylor, R.G., Tindimugaya, C., Barker, J.A., Macdonald, D. and Kulabako, R., 2010. Convergent radial tracing of viral and solute transport in gneiss saprolite. Ground Water, Vol. 48, pp. 284-294.
- Taylor, R.G., M. Miret-Gaspa, J. Tumwine, L. Mileham, R. Flynn, G. Howard, and R. Kulabako, 2009. Increased risk of diarrhoeal diseases from climate change: evidence from communities supplied by groundwater in Uganda. In: Groundwater and Climate in Africa, edited by R. Taylor, C. Tindimugaya, M. Owor and M. Shamsudduha. IAHS Publication No. 334, pp. 15-19.
- Owor, M., Taylor, R.G., Thompson, J., Mukwaya, C. and Tindimugaya, C., 2009. Monitoring groundwater - surface water interactions in the Upper Nile Basin of Uganda. In: Groundwater and Climate in Africa, edited by R. Taylor, C. Tindimugaya, M. Owor and M. Shamsudduha. IAHS Publication No. 334, pp. 68-75.
- Kingston, D., Todd, M., Taylor, R.G., Thompson, J.R. and Arnell, N., 2009. Uncertainty in PET estimation under climate change. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, L20403, doi:10.1029/2009GL040267.
- Owor, M., Taylor, R.G., Tindimugaya, C. and Mwesigwa, D., 2009. Rainfall intensity and groundwater recharge: evidence from the Upper Nile Basin. Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 4, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/4/3/035009
- Taylor, R.G., 2009. Rethinking water scarcity: role of storage. EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 90(28), pp. 237-238.
- Taylor, R.G., Koussis, A. and Tindimugaya, C., 2009. Groundwater and climate in Africa: a review. Hydrological Sciences Journal Vol. 54(4), pp. 655-664.
- Mileham, L., R.G. Taylor, Todd M., Tindimugaya, C. and J. Thompson, 2009. Climate change impacts on the terrestrial hydrology of a humid, equatorial catchment: sensitivity of projections to rainfall intensity. Hydrological Sciences Journal Vol. 54(4), pp. 727-738.
- Shamsudduha, M., Chandler, R.E., Taylor, R.G. and Ahmed, K.M., 2009. Recent trends in groundwater levels in a highly seasonal hydrological system: the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna Delta. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Vol. 13, pp. 1-13.
- Taylor, R.G., L. Mileham, C. Tindimugaya and L. Mwebembezi, 2009. Recent glacial recession and its impact on alpine riverflow in the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda. Journal of African Earth Sciences, Vol. 55, pp. 205-213.
- Dennis, P.D, Hirsch, P.R., Smith, S.J., Taylor, R.G., Valsami-Jones, E. and Miller, A.J., 2009. Linking rhizoplane pH and bacterial density at the microhabitat scale. Journal of Microbiological Methods, Vol. 76, pp. 101-104.
- Russell, J., Eggermont, H., Taylor, R.G., Verschuren, D., 2009. Paleolimnological records of recent glacial recession in the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda-DR. Congo. Journal of Paleolimnology, Vol. 41, pp. 251-273.
- Mileham, L., Taylor, R.G., Thompson, J., Todd, M. and Tindimugaya, C., 2008. Impact of rainfall distribution on the parameterisation of a soil-moisture balance model of groundwater recharge in equatorial Africa. Journal of Hydrology, Vol. 359, pp. 46-58.
Dennis, P.D, Miller, A.J., Clark, I.M., Taylor, R.G., Valsami-Jones, E., Hirsch, P.R., 2008. A novel method for sampling bacteria on plant root and soil surfaces at the microhabitat scale. Journal of Microbiological Methods, Vol. 75, pp. 12-18.
Panizzo, V.N., Mackay, A.W., Ssemmanda, I., Taylor, R.G., Rose, N. and Leng, M., 2008. A 140-year record of recent changes in aquatic productivity in a remote, tropical alpine lake in the Rwenzori Mountain National Park, Uganda. Journal of Paleolimnology, Vol. 40, pp. 325-338.
- Taylor, R.G., Tindimugaya, C. and Aureli, A., 2008. Can groundwater meet Africa's demand for water as climates change? EOS - Transactions of American Geophysical Union, Vol. 89(42), p. 407.
- Treidel, H. and R.G. Taylor, 2008. GRAPHIC Africa kicks off. World of Science, Vol. 6(4), p. 14.
- Taylor, R.G., Cronin, A.A. and Rueedi, J., 2007. Groundwater flow velocities indicated by anthropogenic contaminants in urban sandstone aquifers. IAH Selected Papers on Hydrogeology, Vol. 8, pp. 95-105.
- Rueedi, J., Cronin, A.A., Taylor, R.G., and Morris, B.M., 2007. Tracing sources of carbon in urban groundwater using δ13CTDIC. Environmental Geology Vol. 52, 541-557. doi:10.1007/s00254-006-0486-8
- Taylor, R.G., Mileham, L., Tindimugaya, C., Majugu, A., Nakileza, R., Muwanga, A., 2006. Reply to Comment by Mölg et al. on Recent deglaciation in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa due to rising air temperatures. Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 33, L20405, doi:10.1029/2006GL027606
- Taylor, R.G., Cronin, A.A., Lerner, D.N., Tellam, J.H., Bottrell, S.H., Rueedi, J. and Barrett, M.H., 2006. Hydrochemical evidence of the depth of penetration of anthropogenic recharge in sandstone aquifers underlying two mature cities in the UK. Applied Geochemistry Vol. 21, 1570-1592. doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2006.06.015.
- Taylor, R.G., Mileham, L., Tindimugaya, C., Majugu, A., Nakileza, R., Muwanga, A., 2006. Recent deglaciation in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa due to rising air temperatures. Geophysical Research Letters Vol. 33, L10402, doi:10.1029/2006GL025962
- Taylor, R.G.and Allen, A., 2006. Waste disposal and landfill: information needs. In: Protecting Groundwater for Health: Managing the Quality of Drinking-water Sources. World Health Organisation (Geneva), Edited by O. Schmoll, G. Howard, J. Chilton and I. Chorus. IWA (London), pp. 339-362 (Chapter 12).
- Allen, A. and Taylor, R.G., 2006. Waste disposal and landfill: control and protection. In: Protecting Groundwater for Health: Managing the Quality of Drinking-water Sources. World Health Organisation (Geneva), Edited by O. Schmoll, G. Howard, J. Chilton and I. Chorus. IWA (London), pp. 631-652 (Chapter 24).
- Howard, G., Reed, B.J., McChesney, D. and Taylor, R.G., 2006. Human excreta and sanitation: control and protection. In: Protecting Groundwater for Health: Managing the Quality of Drinking-water Sources. World Health Organisation (Geneva), Edited by O. Schmoll, G. Howard, J. Chilton and I. Chorus. IWA (London), pp. 587-611 (Chapter 22).
- Taylor, R.G., 2005. Groundwater protection in sub-Saharan Africa. Waterlines Vol. 24(1), pp. 21-23.
- Taylor, R.G., 2005. The son of the snow is angry - loss of glaciers threatens indigenous culture. The New Internationalist Vol. 378, p. 6.
- Taylor, R.G., Cronin, A.A., Pedley, S., Atkinson, T.C. and Barker, J.A., 2004. The implications of groundwater velocity variations on microbial transport and wellhead protection: review of field evidence. FEMS Microbiology Ecology Vol. 49, pp. 17-26.
- Taylor, R.G., Barrett, M.H. and Tindimugaya, C. 2004. Urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa; weathered crystalline aquifer systems. International Contributions to Hydrogeology Vol. 24, pp. 155-179.
- Taylor, R.G., 2004. Water Resources and development challenges in eastern and southern Africa. In: T. Bowyer-Bower and D. Potts (Eds.), East and Southern Africa. Regional Development Text, RGS-IBG Developing Areas Research Group, Addison-Wesley Longman (London), Chapter 7, pp. 198-228.
- Taylor, R.G., Cronin, A.A., Trowsdale, S.A., Baines, O.P., Barrett, M.H., Lerner, D.N.L., 2003. Vertical groundwater flow in Permo-Triassic sediments underlying two cities in the Trent River Basin (UK). Journal of Hydrology Vol. 284, pp. 92-113.
- Cronin, A.A., Taylor, R.G., Powell, K.L., Trowsdale, S.A., Barrett, M.H. and Lerner, D.N., 2003. Temporal variations in the depth-specific hydrochemistry and microbiology of an urban sandstone aquifer - Nottingham, UK. Hydrogeology Journal Vol. 11, pp. 205-216.
- Powell, K.L., Taylor, R.G., Cronin, A.A., Barrett, M.H., Pedley, S., Sellwood, J., Trowsdale, S.A., Lerner, D.N., 2003. Microbial contamination of two urban sandstone aquifers in the UK. Water Research Vol. 37, pp. 339-352.
- Taylor, R.G., 2003. Monitoring well water quality – how much to purge when sampling groundwater? Waterlines Vol. 21(4), p. 26.
- Taylor, R.G., 2001. Weathered rock aquifers: vital but poorly developed. Waterlines Vol. 20(2), pp. 3-6.
- Taylor, R.G. and Howard, K.W.F., 2000. A tectono-geomorphic model of the hydrogeology of deeply weathered crystalline rock: evidence from Uganda. Hydrogeology Journal Vol. 8, pp. 279-294.
- Taylor, R.G., 2000. Groundwater - a resource from which we expect so much but know so little. Waterlines Vol. 18(3), p. 32.
- Barrett, M., Howard, G., Pedley, S. Taylor, R.G., and Nalubega, M. 2000. A comparison of the extent and impacts of sewage contamination on urban groundwater in developed and developing countries. Schriftenreihe Des Vereins Fur Wasser-, Boden-Und Lufthygiene Vol. 105, pp. 179-185.
- Taylor, R.G. and Howard, K.W.F., 1999. The influence of tectonic setting on the hydrological characteristics of deeply weathered terrains: evidence from Uganda. Journal of Hydrology Vol. 218, pp. 44-71.
- Taylor, R.G. and Howard, K.W.F., 1999. Lithological evidence for the evolution of weathered mantles in Uganda by tectonically controlled cycles of deep weathering and stripping. CATENA Vol. 35, pp. 65-94.
- Taylor, R.G. and Howard, K.W.F., 1998. Post-Palaeozoic evolution of weathered landsurfaces in Uganda by tectonically controlled cycles of deep weathering and stripping. Geomorphology Vol. 25, pp. 173-192.
- Taylor, R.G. and Howard, K.W.F. 1998. The dynamics of groundwater flow in the regolith of Uganda. International Contributions to Hydrogeology Vol. 18, pp. 97-113.
- Taylor, R.G. and Howard, K.W.F. 1996. Groundwater recharge in the Victoria Nile basin of East Africa: support for the soil-moisture balance method using stable isotope and flow modelling studies. Journal of Hydrology Vol. 180, pp. 31-53.
- Taylor, R.G. and Howard, K.W.F. 1995. Groundwater quality in rural Uganda: Hydrochemical considerations for the development of aquifers within the basement complex of Africa. In: J. McCall and H. Nash (Editors) Groundwater Quality, pp. 31-43.
Research is primarily focused in two areas:
1) the impact of climate change and rapid development on freshwater resources with a specific focus on groundwater and other natural stores of freshwater; and
2) the role of groundwater in improving access to safe water and food security.
1. climate change and groundwater (and other natural freshwater stores)
Current research is focused on the impact of climate variability and change on freshwater resources and water scarcity at basin scales. Improving the analysis of climate-related impacts on natural freshwater stores including principally groundwater but also soil moisture and ice, is a key component of on-going research. Although the use of models (analytical, statistical, numerical) plays a critical role in this research, a central aspect of this research is the use of observations, both ground-based and GRACE satellite measurements, as observations enable the development and testing of our conceptual understanding of the relationship between climate variability and change and terrestrial freshwater stores. This research contributes directly to international scientific programmes including UNESCO-GRAPHIC (Expert Advisory Panel) and IAH Commission on Groundwater and Climate Change (Co-Chair). Participation in these fora has led to the drafting of a cross-disciplinary policy brief for COP21 and establishment of The Chronicles Consortium to collate and analyse multi-decadal records of groundwater levels in Africa. Recently completed research includes: Groundwater resilience to climate change in Africa, policy brief - The Makutapora Record, QUEST-GSI: Global-scale impacts of climate change, Hydrological and climatological impacts of deglaciation in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa and projected changes in water resources in Uganda (e.g. Climate and Water in Uganda, Impact of climate change on the terrestrial hydrology of a humid, equatorial catchment in Uganda). Outcomes have been reported in Nature and The New York Times.
2. groundwater - food security & access to safe water
My research is also focused on the role of groundwater in enabling communities in low-income communities to adapt to the pressures of rapid development and climate variability. To date, research has focused primarily on the hydrogeology of weathered crystalline rock (saprolite-saprock) aquifer systems that underlie much of the tropics including 40% of sub-Saharan Africa and the entire Great Lakes Region of Africa (GLRA). More recently, research has been extended to include shallow alluvial aquifers in the Bengal Basin, the largest of the Asian Mega-Deltas. Research is both pragmatic - seeking to resolve the capacity of both aquifer systems to sustain groundwater abstraction for irrigation and urban water supplies - and fundamental (evolutionary hydrogeology) - seeking to understand how the long-term geomorphological evolution of aquifers in both environments determines their characteristics and interactions between groundwater and surface water:
- Groundwater resilience to climate change in South Asia
- GroFutures: Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Shallow groundwater dynamics in the Bengal Basin and their implications for arsenic mobilisation and sustainable irrigation
- Groundwater/surface water interactions on deeply weathered surfaces of low relief in the Upper Nile Basin of Uganda)
- ESPA: Enhancing Water for Food: poverty reduction through improved management of ecosystem services for sustainable food production in sub-Saharan Africa
My research addresses practical problems of securing and sustaining water supplies for domestic and agricultural needs in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Through direct engagement with stakeholders and decision makers together with long-term collaborations with research institutions, our research is designed to have an immediate and direct impact. Two areas where the impact of this research have been most pronounced are:
1) use of groundwater to adapt to climate variability and change as well as increased freshwater demand
Throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, groundwater now features centrally in national water development strategies, national irrigation plans, and regional initiatives to improve access to drinking water and food production through irrigation and thereby contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, groundwater in Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the focus of a new £12-million research programme (UPGro) funded by the UK government to resolve the scientific basis for groundwater-based adaptations to climate variability and change as well as increased freshwater demand. The rationale for these plans and initiatives is rooted, in part, in collaborative research (e.g. Taylor and Howard, 1996; 2000; Taylor et al., 2009; 2010; 2013; Owor et al., 2009) and dissemination activities (e.g. Groundwater & Climate in Africa 2008 conference, IAH Commission on Groundwater & Climate Change) that I have led or been a collaborator (e.g. MacDonald et al., 2012). Our paper, "Quantitative maps of groundwater resources in Africa" is one of the most downloaded papers (>85,000 downloads) yet published by Environmental Research Letters, the leading open-access journal in environmental sciences. Featured on Al-Jazeera, this research has set a widely adopted benchmark for the quantification of groundwater resources in Africa. Recent collaborative research with the Ministry of Water in Tanzania (Taylor et al., 2013) directly informs the management of the Makutapora Wellfield which supplies freshwater to the national capital city, Dodoma. A summary of research outcomes related specifically to this collaborative research is available in both English and Kiswahili.
2) impact of global warming on alpine glaciers in East Africa
The relationship between global warming and the retreat of alpine glaciers in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa, first established by collaborative research that I led with the Ministry of Water and Environment (Uganda) and Makerere University (Taylor et al., 2006a; 2006b), is now a commonly cited illustration of the impact of climate change in East Africa. This research together with studies of the impact of glacial recession on alpine river flow (Taylor et al., 2009) informs not only Uganda's National Adaptation Plans of Action (NAPA) to combat climate change but also the management of both the Rwenzori Mountains National Park and local hydro-electric power generation stations. A summary of key research outcomes for stakeholders, policy makers, and decision makers is available in both English and LuKhonzo.
, Term 1 (Convenor: Richard Taylor)
, Term 1 (Convenor: Richard Taylor)
, Term 1 (Convenor: Julian Thompson)
, Term 1 (Convenor: Richard Taylor)
DAVID SEDDON (PhD, 2014-)
London NERC DTP Studentship
Thesis: Impact of climate variability and change on groundwater recharge in Sub-Saharan Africa
Co-supervision: Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha, UCL IRDR & Professor Martin Todd, Sussex University
SARA NOWREEN (PhD, 2014-) @ Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (Bangladesh)
Commonwealth Scholarships Commission Split-Site Doctoral Fellowship
Thesis: Impact of climate change on groundwater recharge in the Bengal Basin of Bangladesh
Co-supervision: Professor Mashfiqus Salehin, BUET (Bangladesh) & Dr. Mohammad Shamsudduha, UCL IRDR
SIMON DAMKJAER (PhD, 2013-)
UCL-ISR Doctoral Fellowship
Thesis: Storage-focused strategies to alleviating water scarcity: evidence from the Great Ruaha River Catchment of Tanzania
Co-supervision: Prof. Paul Ekins & Dr. Raimund Bleischwitz, UCL Institute of Sustainable Resources
GUMA BRIAN (PhD, 2013-) @ Makerere University (Uganda)
NORAD Doctoral Studentship
Thesis: to be decided
Co-supervision: Dr. Michael Owor & Dr. Andrew Muwanga, Makerere University (Uganda)
DAN LAPWORTH (PhD, 2013-)
British Geological Survey: Further Education Support
Thesis: Hydrogeological responses to intense groundwater pumping in the Indo-Gangetic Basin: evidence from environmental tracers
Co-supervision: Dr. Willy Burgess, UCL Earth Sciences
GRAHAM BRADLEY (PhD, 2007-2011): Thermochronology, landscape evolution, and hydrogeology of the Katonga Valley in south-west Uganda. UCL Geography TA Studentship
Co-supervision: Dr. Andy Carter & Dr. Charlie Bristow, UCL Earth Sciences
- Graham is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences, SUNY Oswego.
MOHAMMAD SHAMSUDDUHA (PhD, 2007-2011): Groundwater dynamics and arsenic mobilisation in Bangladesh: a national-scale characterisation. Dorothy Hodgkin EPSRC PhD Studentship
Co-supervision: Dr. Richard Chandler, UCL Department of Statistics; Professor K.M. Ahmed (Department of Geology, University of Dhaka)
- 'Shams' is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction.
CRYSTAL FENWICK (PhD, 2006-2010): Identifying the water poor - an indicator approach to assessing water poverty in rural Mexico. EPSRC PhD Studentship,
Co-supervision: Dr. Sarah Bell, UCL Civil, Environmental & Geomatic Engineering (primary supervisor)
- Crystal is based in the US and engaged in environmental consultancy.
MICHAEL OWOR (PhD, 2006-2010): Groundwater/surface-water interactions on deeply weathered surfaces of low relief in the Upper Nile Basin of Uganda. Commonwealth Academic Staff Scholarship, Co-supervision: Dr. Julian Thompson, UCL Geography
- Michael is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geology and Petroleum Studies, Makerere University in Kampala.
LUCINDA MILEHAM (PhD, 2004-2008): Impact of climate change on terrestrial hydrology in a humid, equatorial catchment in Uganda. NERC PhD Studentship, Co-supervision: Dr. Martin Todd, Dr. Julian Thompson, UCL Geography
- Lucinda is based in the UK.
SRIVATSAN VIJAYARAGHAVAN (PhD, 2004-2008): Climate change impacts over the Okavango Delta region of southern Africa using Regional Climate Models - quantifying errors and uncertainties. Dorothy Hodgkin NERC PhD Studentship, Co-supervision: Dr. Martin Todd, UCL Geography (primary supervisor)
- Sri is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore where he is developing and assessing projections of future climate change in SE Asia using Regional Climate Models.
CALLIST TINDIMUGAYA (PhD, 2004-2008): Groundwater flow and storage in weathered crystalline rock aquifer systems of Uganda: evidence from environmental tracers and aquifer responses to hydraulic stress. International Atomic Energy Agency PhD Fellowship, Co-supervision: Professor John Barker and Professor Tim Atkinson, UCL Earth Sciences
- Callist is the Commissioner for Water Resources Regulation in the Ministry of Water and Environment, Uganda.
PAUL DENNIS (PhD, 2003-2007): How do rhizosphere bacteria interact with their environment at the microhabitat scale? BBSRC CASE Doctoral Studentship, Co-supervision: Dr. Tony Miller, Dr. Penny Hirsch, Rothamsted Research; Dr. Eva Valsami-Jones, Natural History Museum
- Paul is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in the Australian Centre for Ecogenomincs at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
Grants & Fellowships
|2016-2017||Banking the Rain: enhancing the resilience of water supplies in dryland Africa
awarding body: EPSRC (Engineering & Physical Science Research Council) Global Challenges Research Fund (UCL Ref. 172313)
PIs: Prof. R.G. Taylor, Prof. J. Kashaigili (SUA) & Dr. M. Cuthbert
amount awarded: £92k
|2015-2020||AfriWatSan: Sustaining urban groundwater-fed water supplies and sanitation systems in Africa
awarding body: The Royal Society - DFID Capacity Building Initiative Consortium Grant (Ref. AQ140023)
PIs: Prof. R.G. Taylor, Prof. C.B Gaye (UCAD), Prof. D. Olago (Nairobi) & Dr. M Owor (Makerere)
amount awarded: £1186k
|2015-2019||GroFutures: Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa
awarding body: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) (UPGro No. NE/M008932/1)
PIs: Prof. R.G. Taylor, Dr. John Thompson (IDS), Dr. J. Kashaigili (SUA), Prof. T. Ayenew (AAU), Dr. G. Favreau (IRD), Dr. K. Villholth (IWMI), Prof. A. MacDonald (BGS), Prof. M. Todd (Sussex)
amount awarded: £1860k + £51k addendum
|2014-2015||Groundwater Datasets for Africa (Atlas)
awarding body: Natural Environment Research Council - UPGro (Ref. GA/13F/037/S1)
PIs: Prof. R.G. Taylor & Prof. Alan MacDonald, lead PI (BGS)
amount awarded: £31k (subcontract to UCL)
|Groundwater resources in the Indo-Gangetic Basin: resilience to climate change and pumping
awarding body: Department for International Development (Ref. GA/11F/099/S2)
PIs: Prof. A. MacDonald (BGS), Dr. R.G. Taylor & Dr. W.G. Burgess (UCL)
amount awarded: £565k
|Sustaining urban groundwater-fed water supplies and sanitation systems in Africa
awarding body: The Royal Society - DFID Capacity Building Initiative Network Grant(Ref. AN130031)
PIs: Prof. R.G. Taylor, Prof. C.B Gaye (UCAD), Prof. D. Olago (Nairobi) & Dr. M Owor (Makerere)
amount awarded: £24.9k
|Groundwater recharge in Africa - identifying critical thresholds
awarding body: Natural Environment Research Council (UPGro No. NE/L001926/1)
PIs: Prof. A. MacDonald (BGS), Dr. R.G. Taylor & Prof. Mike Edmunds (Oxford)
amount awarded: £136k
|GroFutures: Groundwater Futures in Sub-Saharan Africa
awarding body: Natural Environment Research Council (UPGro No. NE/L002043/1)
PIs: Dr. R.G. Taylor, Dr. John Thompson (IDS), Prof. M. Todd (Sussex), R. Calow (ODI)
amount awarded: £148k
|Exploring relationships among groundwater Arsenic and adverse pregnancy outcomes in Bangladesh
awarding body: UCL Grand Challenges (Global Health) (Ref.)
PIs: Prof. P. Sammonds (UCL IRDR), co-PIs: Dr. M. Shamsudduha (UCL IRDR), Dr. E. Fottrell (UCL Global Health), Prof. K.M. Ahmed (Dhaka), and Prof. R.G. Taylor
amount awarded: £3k
|Enhancing Water for Food: poverty reduction through improved management of ecosystem services for sustainable food production in sub-Saharan Africa
awarding body: Natural Environment Research Council (ESPA PPD, No. NE/I00386X/1)
PIs: Professor Nuwagaba (Makerere University) & Dr. R.G. Taylor (UCL)
amount awarded: £48K
|2010-2011||Groundwater resilience to climate change in Africa
awarding body: Department for International Development (Ref. GA/09F/094)
PIs: Dr. A. MacDonald (BGS), R. Calow (ODI) & Dr. R.G. Taylor (UCL)
amount awarded: £284K
|2007-2010||Global-scale impacts of climate change: an integrated multi-sectoral assessment
awarding body: Natural Environment Research Council (QUEST Theme 3, No. NE/E001890/1)
PIs: Dr. R. Taylor, Dr. M. Todd, J. Thompson (UCL) (consortium led by Professor N. Arnell, Walker Institute, University of Reading)
amount awarded: £1750K (£177K to UCL)
|2007-2008||Hydrological implications of deglaciation in the Rwenzori Mountains of East Africa
awarding body: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Small Research Grants Programme with the Royal Geographical Society, Ref. 01/07)
PI: Dr. R. Taylor
amount awarded: £2.9K
|2004-2005||Assessing the impacts of climate change and variability on water resources in Uganda: developing an integrated approach at the sub-regional scale
awarding body: START Africa Small Grants Programme (International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, World Climate Research Programme, International Human Dimensions Programme on global environmental change, project ref. 202 457 5859)
PIs: Dr. Charles Basalirwa (Makerere University), Dr. R. Taylor (UCL)
amount awarded: £12.5K
|2003-2004||Climate change and the aquatic ecosystems of the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda
awarding body: Royal Geographical Society (co-winner Ralph Brown Award 2003)
PIs: Drs. R. Taylor, N. Rose, A.W. Mackay (UCL)
amount awarded: £7.5K
|2002-2005||Assessing and Improving Sustainability of Urban Water Resources and Systems
awarding body: European Union (Ref. EVK1-CT-2002-00110-AISUWRS, subcontract from Surrey University)
PIs: Dr. Mathias Eiswirth (Universität Karlsruhe)
amount awarded: £1070K (£5K to UCL)
|2004||Late Holocene changes in alpine vegetation of the Rwenzori Mountains
awarding body: The Royal Society (Study Visit Grant, Dr. I. Ssemmanda, Makerere University)
PIs: Drs. A.W. Mackay, R. Taylor (UCL)
|2003||Climate change and the aquatic ecosystems of the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda
awarding body: The Royal Society (Study Visit Grant)
PIs: Dr. R. Taylor (UCL)
|2001-2002||Canada-UK Millennium Fellowship
awarding body: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
PIs: Dr. R. Taylor (UCL)
amount awarded: £6K
|2000-2002||Impact and sustainability of intensive groundwater abstraction from deeply weathered aquifer systems
awarding body: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Post-Doctoral Fellowship (Ref. PDF-230770-2000)
PIs: Dr. R. Taylor
amount awarded: £41K
|1999||Contaminant transport in weathered crystalline rock aquifers
awarding body: Department for International Development (supplementary grant to ARGOSS project)
PIs: Dr. R. Taylor, Dr. M.H. Barrett (Surrey University), Dr. D. Macdonald (British Geological Survey), Dr. M. Nalubega (Makerere University
amount awarded: £15K
|1994-1996||Sustainability and suitability of shallow groundwater development in the weathered overburden of Uganda
awarding body: International Development Research Centre Canada, Young Canadian Researcher's Award
PIs: Dr. R. Taylor
amount awarded: £6K