Professor David Butler. Photo: John Ffoulkes.

Exeter engineer showers international team with water expertise

A professor from the University of Exeter is preparing to travel to Israel to share his expertise on water engineering.

Professor David Butler of the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, will chair a major conference on water research, which brings together researchers from the UK and Israel.

The conference, entitled New Developments in Water Research, is due to be held at leading research institution Technion-IIT in Haifa on 24 March 2009.

Professor Butler, who is a co-Director of the University’s Centre for Water Systems, will lead a team from several UK universities, including University College London and the Universities of Edinburgh and Sheffield. They will meet with academics from a number of Israel’s leading research institutes, several of whom are new to the field.

The meeting will focus on some of the key challenges facing water engineers and utility companies today. Speakers will address issues such as water saving and efficiency, water reclamation and engaging the public with reusing water. Professor David Butler will present his research on sustainable urban water management.

Professor David Butler of the University of Exeter said: ”This conference is an important opportunity to present current British research work and to learn from researchers developing new approaches and techniques to save and reclaim water.  The British team contains some of the brightest and best academic talent in the country and this international collaboration will expand our horizons and help forge links to further develop and improve work in both countries.”

Part of the University’s School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics, the Centre for Water Systems conducts research into some of the most pressing issues facing society today: How can towns and cities provide clean water to an ever-growing population? In the face of climate change, how can we ensure that drought does not leave some groups short of water while others are at risk of flooding? Can water companies find new ways of dealing with water provision and sewage to reduce rising costs for consumers?

Since it was established in 1998, the Centre for Water Systems has brought over £4.5 million of research income into the University. With 37 researchers and support staff it has worked with companies from all over the world, including many in the south west.

The Centre is part of the Flood Risk Management Consortium, a group set up by the UK Government to investigate the prediction, prevention and mitigation of flooding. Centre’s researchers have also been involved in the UK Sustainable Urban Environment programme, which is now in its second phase, contributing towards improved quality of life via research into water-related sustainability issues. Another major research activity is through the NEPTUNE consortium, which deals with improved energy efficiency and optimal real-time operation of water distribution systems. NEPTUNE brings together major university researchers and industrial collaborators, including Yorkshire Water, United Utilities and ABB. As well as being a world-leading research group, the Centre for Water Systems now runs an MSc in Urban Water Systems, the first degree of its kind in the UK.

Date: 18 March 2009

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