Welsh Government Opportunity: PhD Placement -Water quality monitoring in Wales – building a full picture, and understanding the strengths, weaknesses and gaps in data.

The closing date for applications is Friday 29th September at 16:00hrs.

The Water and Flood Division of the Welsh Government is seeking a PhD student for a placement opportunity within its Water Policy team. The team‘s remit falls under the portfolio of the Minister for Climate Change which supports delivery objectives identified under primary legislation such as the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015. The team works closely with a wide variety of internal and external stakeholders and representatives of the UK Government and the other Devolved Administrations. 

Waterbodies in Wales are under continuing pressure from climate change, extreme weather events, pollution levels and increased demand for water to support population growth. To introduce effective policy interventions, it is imperative that we understand the impact of these pressures and establish a full picture regarding the health of our rivers, lakes and coastal waters. We need reliable and robust datasets to assess their status and identify the main pollution sources affecting them on a catchment level.

At present, there is no platform where all water quality monitoring data relevant to Wales would be collated and presented. As a consequence, it is unclear how much water quality monitoring is happening in Wales, how reliable the data collated is and where water quality monitoring gaps are. Furthermore, emerging contaminants present a risk to water quality, and we need to ensure that these are built into our monitoring programmes.

The postholder will be expected to provide a comprehensive overview of ongoing water quality monitoring in Wales and identify organisations that are involved in water quality data collection in a final report.  Engagement with relevant stakeholders will form a central part of the placement, whilst the appointed student collates the necessary information.

The report will need to outline the type of data collected and how this links to national or international commitments and policy drivers. Identifying gaps in monitoring, in terms of substances and geographical locations, will also be an aspect to consider.

Part of the final report is expected to consider new approaches to water monitoring, novel techniques, cost effective solutions and the use of citizens science.

Another key aspect of the placement is the consideration of data sharing and data presentation using a national virtual platform, to be developed in collaboration with Cardiff University and other stakeholders.

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