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Centre for Sustainable Development

Est 2000 - home of the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

Studying at Cambridge


2019 Dr Elisabeth Liddle

Elisabeth graduated from her Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Management) in 2012 and her Master of Science (Geography) in 2014, both of which were undertaken at the University of Otago, New Zealand. While an undergraduate, Elisabeth developed a strong interest in the interaction between the natural environment and the impacts of this on livelihoods in developing nations. From this stemmed her Masters research, in which she looked at the spatial variability of surface water and groundwater quality in Ndola, Zambia, and the impact of these variations on community wellbeing. Here she witnessed the complexities and challenges that lie within the system that is water provision sub-Saharan Africa, realising that the challenges behind groundwater provision are not simply technical, but rather social, financial and institutional factors also play important roles in determining whether individuals receive safe and adequate quantities of drinking water.

A key issue within this system is water point failure, this being the system that Elisabeth analysed within her PhD. Failure rates have remained stubbornly high in sub-Saharan Africa for the past 40 years, and while multiple reasons for failure are known, there is a lack of viable solutions to holistically address these failures. Moving away from linear thinking of cause and effect, Elisabeth’s PhD is looked at the feedback mechanisms within the system of water point construction and management, focusing on the causal links between the technical, social, financial and institutional factors within this system. Her PhD aims to identify the areas within this that have the greatest control over water point functionality, thus those that offer the highest points of leverage in future policy decisions, all with the aim of reducing the rate of borehole failure within sub-Saharan Africa.

Elisabeth was jointly funded by the Rutherford Foundation of New Zealand and the Cambridge Trust.

RSS Feed Latest news

New Research Project announced

Jan 04, 2021

Dick Fenner and Andre Serrenho have secured funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 programme as part of a large consortium including colleagues in Land Economy.

Award for Blue Green Cities research

Jun 14, 2020

Dick Fenner and Malcolm Morgan have been awarded the Robert Alfred Carr Prize for their paper entitled: Spatial evaluation of the multiple benefits of sustainable drainage systems.

Widening Horizons update published

Feb 12, 2020

Dick Fenner and Charles Ainger have recently updated their 2006 paper (co-authored with Peter Guthrie and Heather Cruickshank) "Widening engineering horizons: addressing the complexity of sustainable development" to examine how much progress towards sustainability the civil engineering profession has made in each of the eight key areas defined in the original paper.

Perspectives on Urban Flood Resilience - Blog

Feb 12, 2020

Dick Fenner has compiled and edited a special themed edition of the Royal Society’s Philosophical Transactions A Journal on urban flood resilience, published in February 2020.

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