River basins

We are part of the GCRF Water Security and Sustainable Development Hub, a five-year project improving water security for a resilient future with partners in the UK, Malaysia, India, Columbia and Ethiopia.

Podcast: Listen to our podcast on citizen science in Ethiopia.

Lab in a suitcase: Read our Water Research paper on fancy water microbiology with a portable laboratory to screen waterborne hazards in the Akaki river.

Bacterial hazards in the Akaki catchment: Read our field study of spatiotemporal variation of urban wastewater impacts on river microbiomes and associated hazards in the Akaki catchment, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Metal exposure of residents in the Akaki catchment: Read our survey of trace elements in the nails of residents living in different parts of the Akaki catchment, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Video: Watch this youtube video from our Ethiopian collaborators about water quality challenges in the Akaki River Basin.

Multidrug resistant bacteria in river water: We have published a paper with our collaborators in Malaysia showing that surrogate markers, such dissolved oxygen, Bacteroides and Prevotella abundances estimated from MinION sequencing data, and the rodA qPCR assay for total E. coli, can identify locations on a river that deserve immediate attention to mitigate AMR spread through improved waste management.

Faecal pollution source tracking in the holy Bagmati River: Read our paper in Clean Water on how we used our suitcase laboratory to identify the main sources of river water pollution in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal. Our findings show how inadequate wastewater management may turn an urban river into an open sewer, which poses a public health risk.

Water quality workshop: We provided training in onsite molecular diagnostic to Hub researchers from four continents.

Loading the flow cell
Onsite water chemistry
Lab in a van
Loading the flow cell in the van
Gene quantification (by qPCR) and sequencing (with the MinION) in the back of a van

Rapid response grant: Kishor Acharya was awarded a Rapid Response Grant from the Global Challenge Academy to work with the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA), Addis Ababa University and the International Water Management Institute, in Ethiopia. The project aim is to share best practice for personnel working in the collection, treatment and management of wastewater.

Kishor in front of the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA)

Training in faecal pollution source tracking: Ms. Jemila Mohammed from Addis Ababa University and Dr. Osuolale Olayinka from Elizade University visited us to participate in the H70 Global Water Security conference and for training in faecal pollution source tracking using molecular methods. We took water samples along the River Team and at different treatment stages at the wastewater treatment works near Birtley. The Angel of the North looked over us from afar, so we decided to have a closer look.

Sampling from the outlet of constructed wetlands which polish wastewater treatment plant effluent
Short sight-seeing stop under the Angle of the North after the fieldwork

Hands-on water quality analysis training in Ethiopia: Kishor and I provided training in comprehensive water quality analysis, incl. next generation sequencing with the MinION, at the Addis Ababa Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) laboratories. Participants came from AAWSA, Addis Ababa University, Arba Minch University, the Awash Basin Development Authority, IWMI, an the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy.

Trainers and Trainees
Water abstraction from the Leghedadi (upstream of the Big Akaki river)
Woman washing cloths in the Leghedadi
Sampling in the Leghedadi
Sampling clear water during the dry season
Colorimetric test strip method for pH, alkalinity, hardness, nitrate and nitrite
pH, temperature, conductivity, TDS and salinity measured with a hand-held probe
On-site water quality analysis
Cattle drinking from the Big Akaki River
Standard preparation tutorial in the laboratory
Test strip results and quality assurance
And practice
Membrane filtration
Water filtration with our portable unit for DNA extraction
Molecular microbiology lecture
At the end of the bioinformatics workshop on the lawn of the International Water Management Institute

Hands-on water quality analysis training in Malaysia: As part of the new Global Water Security and Sustainability Hub activities, Kishor provided training in portable next generation sequencing to 15 trainees from the Newcastle University Medical School in Malaysia (NUMed) and the University of Technology Malaysia (UTM).

Trainer and trainees