The world population of 7 billion is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2050. To meet potable water supply and other urban demands (e.g. landscape irrigation, commercial, and industrial needs), there must be a paradigm shift in our approach to water resources management. Population increases and a dependency on high-water-demand agriculture which are coupled with urbanisation are affecting land use changes that exacerbate water supply challenges. Likewise, sea level rise and increasing intensity and variability of local climate patterns are predicted to alter hydrologic and ecosystem dynamics and composition.
The United Kingdom (UK) with its high population density and in particular the South East of England are clear examples of the challenges described above. Increasing population and as a consequence increasing water demand has led to water resources under some scenarios being over committed. Consequently, the South East of England is not only one of the most water scarce regions in the UK but also Northern Europe. A recent legally binding agreement (Section 20) attempts to balance environmental management and water abstraction on critical surface water sources in Hampshire. The impact being that in periods of severe drought non-traditional sources of water are likely required. The UK is likely to follow other countries such as Australia and the USA in having larger volumes and sites of water reuse in the future and as such the ability to demonstrate and monitor associated technologies is critical to future technology applications in differing future water scenarios across the globe.
Ultraviolet Advanced Oxidation Technologies (UVOT) are widely applied treatment process (often following membrane processes) to oxidise target micropollutants to less harmful forms for discharge to the environment and/or directly or indirectly being a water source for human consumption. Currently the most widely applied oxidant is hydrogen peroxide with chlorine having some full-scale applications however there are a number of potential oxidant options. The project is expected to investigate the practical application of this technology with the following possible avenues of research:
- Accurate quantification of assessment of UV AOT at bench scale and full scale
- Assessing oxidant optimisation including oxidation selection and volumes used
- Applying oxidant free technologies (e.g. VUV sources) for treatment options
- Assessment of By Product formation and potential toxicity
The project will be linked to project partners and will have numerous practical elements with consultants and end users providing the candidate with excellent skills for future employment.