Back to search results

PhD Studentship: The Future of Hydraulic Water Network Design to Manage Discolouration Risk

University of Sheffield - Sheffield Water Centre

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Sheffield
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £19,000
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 6th February 2020
Closes: 31st March 2020

The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Water Centre in collaboration with United Utilities and the Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience.

EPSRC PhD Studentship in:

The Future of Hydraulic Water Network Design to Manage Discolouration Risk

Stipend: This post will fully cover university tuition and provide a tax-free stipend for UK students of £19,000 per year.

Start Date: 28 September 2020 (contract duration 4 years)

Discoloured water is a major concern for the water industry with customers judging their drinking water by its appearance, taste and smell. Discolouration from within distribution systems is caused when material that has accumulated is mobilised and can be seen at the customer tap as colour or particles in the water.

One essential part of the delivery network that impacts consumers and water company performance measures is the hydraulic behaviour within distribution zones and material accumulation resulting from low flows, such as at dead-ends and tidal points. United Utilities is leading the UK by investigating the value of hydraulic models to detect potential risk zones yet this modelling remains un-validated. The results of this work will help to determine the most effective interventions to reduce the risk of discoloured water.  

This project aims to investigate the ability of hydraulic models to detect discoloration risk zones and validate this through practical fieldwork. Innovative hydraulic network design will then be investigated as a strategy to manage water quality risks and reduce required interventions. Key questions are:

  • Can current hydraulic models determine where water quality risks occur (validate against field data)?
  • Is focussed flushing (selecting only ‘at risk’ pipes) a viable and efficient intervention strategy?
  • How can network design use operational hydraulics to reduce water quality risks?
  • Can network specific safe flows be calculated from examination of network discolouration responses?
  • How can a company use this knowledge to reduce risk by intervening as appropriate?

The research programme to be completed in this project will be undertaken as part of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Water Infrastructure and Resilience (CDT WIRe). CDT WIRe is a collaboration between the three leading UK Universities in water resilient infrastructure. Students will benefit from a bespoke training scheme delivered by world leading experts from academia and industry, access to world leading experimental and computational facilities as well as close and regular contact with industry and end user partners.  CDT WIRe is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community, and offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies. For further information on the CDT WIRe scheme visit the web site at:

The project will be supervised by Dr S. Husband in collaboration with partners from United Utilities and time will be shared between the University of Sheffield and United Utilities.

Eligibility Criteria

Normal EPSRC funding eligibility applies to this award, so students must have a relevant connection with the UK (usually established by residence).

The selection criteria are: A good first degree in relevant engineering, maths or science discipline with ability to plan and conduct field trials plus computational data analysis and an enthusiasm for the topic area.

How to apply

Interested candidates should email a covering letter and their Curriculum Vitae to Lindsay Hopcroft (

For information and informal enquiries please contact:

We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:

Subject Area(s):


PhD tools
More PhDs from University of Sheffield

Show all PhDs for this organisation …

More PhDs like this
Join in and follow us

Browser Upgrade Recommended has been optimised for the latest browsers.

For the best user experience, we recommend viewing on one of the following:

Google Chrome Firefox Microsoft Edge