Richard Taylor is a renowned water expert. He continues to provide vital insights into connections between climate conditions and water resources, with a particular focus on tropical Africa and South Asia. He is widely recognized for his leadership in the consequences of climate extremes on hydrologic processes. This research is critical in order to improve water access as the world continues to warm.
—Scott Jasechko, Associate Professor, Bren School
In low-income countries of the tropics undergoing rapid growth, global warming presents major challenges to the expansion and sustainability of water supplies required to advance progress toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Substantial uncertainty persists, however, in projections of precipitation under climate change. A widespread impact, especially pronounced in the tropics, is the intensification of precipitation, which is characterized by a shift towards fewer but heavier rainfalls. What is the impact of this transition on terrestrial water balances and specifically the replenishment of groundwater, often the only perennial source of freshwater in drylands? What is the evidence to date from observations and how do these compare to models used to project climate change impacts? How might these changes impact freshwater demand? This seminar will interrogate these questions and review mounting empirical evidence from long-term transdisciplinary research in these environments of the resilience to climate change of groundwater resources, which act as a natural, inter-annual store of freshwater supporting adaptation to the amplification climate extremes. Cited evidence include case studies and local-to-regional scale analyses from drylands in tropical Africa to the seasonally humid, Bengal Basin of South Asia. Outcomes emphasize the interconnected nature of surface water and groundwater as well as the value of groundwater as a natural, distributed store of freshwater. This insight provides a platform to explore more equitable and sustainable, stakeholder-led development pathways resilient to climate change.
Richard Taylor is a Professor of Hydrogeology at University College London in the UK and an Adjunct Professor of Hydrogeology at Makerere University, Uganda. For over two decades, he has worked with researchers, practitioners and stakeholders across tropical Africa and South Asia to inform strategies to expand and sustain equitable access to safe water for drinking and food production. Richard has led and leads large transdisciplinary consortia (e.g. GroFutures, AfriWatSan, CLARITY) engaged in needs-driven and solutions-oriented research that also seeks to strengthen individual and institutional capacities. He is the recipient of a Senior Fellowship from The Royal Society and a Contributing Author to two chapters of the 6th Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Changing Water Cycle (WGI) and Africa (WGII).