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Dr James Webber, Research Fellow.

Dr James Webber - Water They Up To: CWS in the Spotlight

In this week's 'Water they up to: CWS in the Spotlight' feature, we find out more about Dr James Webber, Research Fellow.

What is your research about?

My research is all about building resilience to stormwater hazards through developing a landscape-scale perspective for flood management. My day-to-day work is split between developing new methods for predicting and evaluating hazards, to designing and testing novel management strategies and engaging communities and organisations to apply research findings for practical benefits.I’ve recently started working with smarter stormwater researchers in CWS, where we’re combining this landscape scale perspective with ‘Internet of Things’ technology to investigate what possibilities smart technology can realise in water management.

What is the most exciting part about your research?

The most exciting part of my research is working with the many different people across the broad range of disciplines involved in water management. Water management and green infrastructure affect so many aspects of our communities, environment and economy that it’s always exciting to learn more about how these different systems and perspectives interact. Before joining CWS I was lucky enough to spend three years working with the Environmental Economists in the Land, Environment, Economy and Policy Institute; and after coming from an engineering background, it was fascinating to learn about how they were addressing familiar water and environment challenges using totally new approaches.

When thinking about water, what place comes to mind first and why?

I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in Devon, with lots of places which connect me to water. A couple of places which spring to mind straight away are the River Exe (my family are all very keen rowers so it’s a place I spent a lot of time watching them train and race, as well as chopping up the water myself for a few years); and Dartmoor, where we spent many very wet weekends walking from Tor to Tor and wading through rivers.

Which movie or book character would you most associate with water?

I’m cheating a bit on this one and going for an author. Reading Frank Herbert’s Dune novels as a teenager introduced me to science fiction writing and I’ve been a big fan ever since. The importance of water, ecology and the connections between people and geography are consistent themes in his books. Dune was forward thinking when it was published, but these themes are increasingly important today.

View James' profile

Date: 13 September 2021

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