The research group of prof. Patrick Willems focuses on the study of hydrological extremes (floods, droughts) by means of hydrological, hydraulic and water balance models and statistical methods, the impacts of climate change and climate adaptation solutions.
Recent summers have been the driest of the last decades. Many studies indicate that droughts and water scarcity may become “the new normal” in the future in Flanders. In addition, climate change increases rainfall extremes, which results in more floods. These drought and flood risks impact nearly all sectors, including agriculture, drinking water supply, ecosystem functioning, shipping and public safety. Although the Flemish policy is highly oriented at integrated water management and the implementation of source control measures, current practices do not succeed in significantly reducing the risks induced by climate change and urbanisation. Blue-green or nature based solutions are among the priority measures. Typical blue-green solutions include infiltration basins, upstream wetlands, swales, buffer strips, mulching or re-meandering. In practice, it has proved to be challenging to understand how to best plan, implement and scale blue-green solutions. Little is known about the effectiveness (or side-effects) of these measures on a larger scale.
This PhD research project (4 years working as PhD researcher in close cooperation with other researchers in an interdisciplinary team) aims to improve the design, facilitate the planning and increase the implementation rate of blue-green adaptation strategies. Central is the scientific knowledge gain on the quantification of (large scale) impacts and benefits of blue-green solutions on catchment hydrology (floods and droughts). More, specifically, the research project will develop methods that allow to properly represent the blue-green adaptation measures in catchment scale hydrological models, and to evaluate the impact of various types of adaptation scenarios for actual and future climate conditions. This will be done for selected case studies in Flanders region of Belgium.
Master of Civil Engineering, Bioscience Engineering or Water Resources Engineering, with interest in water management, nature based solutions and the implementation of spatially distributed hydrological models for river catchments. Good programming skills including Python is a must.
4-years PhD research project
For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Patrick Willems, tel.: +32 16 32 16 58, mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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