School of Engineering

Staff Profile

David Walker

Research Assistant


David Walker is a postdoctoral research associate at Newcastle University. He is a hydrogeologist working on sustainable intensification of agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and the Himalayas. Current research projects focus on the impacts of land degradation on water resources in Ethiopia and Tanzania, and the resilience of groundwater resources to climate change in India.

David has a PhD from Newcastle University, an MSc in hydrogeology from the University of Birmingham and a BSc in environmental geology from the University of Leeds. He has worked as a hydrogeologist and senior engineer for various engineering consultancies principally involved in construction projects on gold mines and landfill sites in Azerbaijan, Mexico, Kuwait and the UK. 




This research position followed immediately from my PhD, which was titled:

"Resilience of shallow groundwater resources and their potential for use in small-scale irrigation: a study in Ethiopia".

The following ongoing projects commenced during my PhD:

Sep 2016 – present: REACH Improving Water Security for the Poor – Water security risk science: local monitoring for participatory resource management (AMGRAF-WSRS)

The focus of the Catalyst project was participatory monitoring at community scale as an approach to enhancing climate and hydrological monitoring, particularly for shallow groundwater. The Accelerated project builds on this research to advance a methodology for monitoring the impacts of watershed management interventions using selected indicators of hydrological performance, and will develop a tool for targeting interventions that increase groundwater recharge. The project aims to consolidate community engagement through a gender inclusive approach. The project is partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI), and operates at four study sites in Ethiopia. 

Jan 2017 – present: NERC Innovations Water Risk project – CARISMA (Catchment Risk Assessments using Multi-Scale data)

The aim is to develop a framework methodology for integration of community-led hydrological monitoring in areas of data scarcity in sub-Saharan Africa with remote sensing information, to improve assessment and understanding of catchment water balances. The project focuses on two river basins, one each in Ethiopia and Tanzania, working with key stakeholders representing different interests (including communities, environmental organisations, industrial water users, government bodies) to design and evaluate a prototype software integration platform / water management toolkit to allow multiple stakeholders within a river catchment to visualise and interpret hydrological information in support of catchment-based water management. The project is in collaboration with Imperial College London, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), the Abay River Basin Authority in Ethiopia, and the Rufiji Basin Water Office in Tanzania.

Dec 2017 – present: The Royal Society Global Challenges – PAPPADAAM (Pluri-scalar Approaches for co-Production of Pan-Asian Drought Assessment and Adaptive resource Management)

To address threats from environmental disasters, specifically drought, we utilise approaches, which are both pluri-scalar – ranging from individual communities to continental extents – and trans-disciplinary, drawing upon environmental science (climatology, remote sensing, agronomy) and people-focused activities (participatory monitoring, resource management, policy uptake). By focusing on a water-forestry-agriculture nexus our research yields valuable insights on increasing resilience to drought for the institutions and countries (in China, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) with whom we partner.