Skip to main content

Postgraduate research project

Development of water retention technology for flash floods in arid regions

Competition funded
View fees and funding
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree
(View full entry requirements)
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

Water shortage is a serious and increasing problem in many countries. Developing technology to reduce water shortage is of prime importance. We are developing water retention solutions using an approach inspired by Roman technology.

In arid regions, the yearly rainfall is often focussed into two or three events. Large volumes of water are collected in otherwise dry riverbeds, such as wadis or canyons. Current engineering practice is to channel these flash floods to guide them through or around settlements. The water flows towards the sea as quickly as possible. This is undesirable in dry regions which suffer from acute water shortage.

There are few projects to investigate flash flood management and water retention. Roman engineers built soil retention dams, shallow dams which retained the sediment transported by the flash floods to create farmland. The farmland then served as a water retention ”sponge”, absorbing and retaining the water from flash floods. The systems were very complex and, judging by the estimated lifespan of the dams, they also were successful.

This project will investigate the flash flood management systems built by the Romans as well as current approaches. You will analyse the following areas to gain essential engineering information to design new systems:

  • the current situation and needs
  • physical model tests of flash floods
  • sediment transport
  • interaction with retention dams
Back to top