STREAM PhD in Civil Engineering - Whole City Modelling of Water Usage

Newcastle University

Value of award

Fees paid at the UK/EU rate plus a stipend of £17,000 and fixed travel and subsistence budget.

Number of awards


Start date and duration

October 2018 for 3.5 years.

Application closing date

Friday 1 June 2018 at 17:00.


New developments in water usage monitoring and water network modelling at building level allow the quantification and investigation of (a) the effect of water consumer behaviour and (b) the supplied service to the consumer, at an unprecedented level of detail and across larger areas than ever before. The system load, cost, and risks associated with urbanisation and household water demand are all increasing, so an understanding of the aggregated effects of complex trends in household and individual behaviours are urgently needed for companies to respond and manage.

This project proposes to obtain new household and network level water use data, and use these in new city-wide models of demand, usage, and discharge, for understanding and estimation of whole system (water supply and waste water drainage) performance and risk.

The main research challenges are:

  • to measure household use (supply and/or waste water flows);
  • to characterise usage so that all properties across the system can be parameterised and modelled;
  • to model household or individual behaviour and choices;
  • to integrate household usage into a whole network context.

Together with NWL operational teams, techniques will be investigated and trialled for continuous monitoring of supply and/or waste water at an appropriate aggregation level for several characteristic locations in Newcastle. Agent based methods exploiting existing socio-economic and demographic data (from ITRC MISTRAL) will be used to characterise demand and usage. A variant of the high-resolution hydrodynamic model CityCAT will be developed and used for waste water flow and supply modelling. For the first time, a well evidenced household level demand and usage model scaled up to a whole city will be developed.


Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Northumbrian Water Group.

Name of supervisor(s)

Professor Richard Dawson and Professor Chris Kilsby, School of Engineering.

Eligibility Criteria

A first or upper second class honours and/or masters degree in civil or environmental engineering, computing science, geomatics, environmental sciences, or physical geography.

The full award is dependent on EPSRC eligibility.

How to apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

All relevant fields should be completed, but fields marked with a red asterisk must to be completed. The following information will help us to process your application. You will need to:

  • insert the programme code 8822F in the programme of study section
  • select ‘PhD Skills, Technology, Research and Management for the UK Water Sector (full time)’ as the programme of study
  • insert the studentship code ENG020 in the studentship/partnership reference field
  • attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote reference code ENG020 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project
  • attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.


For further information please contact Professor Richard Dawson ( and Professor Chris Kilsby ( for Academic queries, or for Administrative queries.

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Northern England