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Modelling flows and water quality in large Himalayan rivers

Event organised by The Irrigation and Water Forum

28 February 2024
17:00 - 18:00 GMT

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Climate change and increased agricultural development are impacting large Himalayan rivers such as the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna; these rivers combine in Bangladesh to flow into the Bay of Bengal.

Models have been applied to simulate flows and water quality in these rivers in order to evaluate the impact of land use change and long-term climate change.

Agricultural impacts on nutrients in rivers can be significant with rising phosphorus and nitrate concentrations in many rivers. Large cities such as Dhaka discharge industrial and domestic effluents that impact water quality and ecology.

A study of pollution in the Dhaka river system has shown high nutrient levels and metal concentrations with associated very low dissolved oxygen levels.

An assessment of a clean-up strategy involving the construction of 12 new sewage treatment plants over the next 20 years will be illustrated in this presentation.

Organised by

The Irrigation and Water Forum

The Irrigation and Water Forum

The IWf aims to promote British expertise in the science and art of irrigation, drainage and flood control.


Prof. Paul Whitehead

Prof. Paul Whitehead

University of Oxford and Water Resource Associates

Professor of Water Science

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Prof. Paul Whitehead

Paul Whitehead is professor of Water Science at the University of Oxford and professor emeritus at Reading University. Paul is also MD of Water Resource Associates.

He has over 35 years’ experience of research on water quality and pollution issues, and has a special interest in modelling, including the development and application of dynamic, stochastic, planning and forecasting models. He has been director of the £11 million NERC Macronutrient Cycles Programme and has been successful in running over 50 projects funded by NERC, EPSRC, ESRC, EU, EA and a range of Government Departments such as DEFRA, FCOD and DTI. Professor Whitehead has served on several senior NERC committees.  

He has also been an environmental research advisor to the UK Government, the EU, Belgium and Romania and he has worked in Nepal, Thailand, India, China, Brazil, Australia, Bangladesh and the USA. He has published widely with over 220 papers in the refereed literature as well as being guest speaker at a wide range of conferences and meetings.