Rainforrest riverWater

Water is one of University of Copenhagen's core research areas in relation to developing countries.

The research area covers

  • Changes in water supply and impacts of climate change
  • Interactions between water and sanitation, health, nutrition and cultivation
  • Water management and irrigation
  • Assessment of water resources

Relevant centres, departments and research units

Researcher Group in Nature and Environmental Change

Nature and Environmental Change is one of the researcher groups at the Department of Anthropology. In 2009 the project Waterworlds – Centre for Anthropological Climate Research was set up as part of the department. The project studied some of the large water-related challenges currently faced by societies and human beings. It concerns the ice that is melting in the Arctic and in glacier covered regions; the seas that are rising in the Pacific region; the coastlines that are eroding and the rivers that are flowing over their banks in large areas of the world; and the drought that is spreading and making life vulnerable. The project is completed.

Landscape Technology
The research group is cross-disciplinary and the research builds on knowledge about water, soil, plants, construction materials and on knowledge about methods for organizing and managing the construction and operation task. They work with water, terrain, plants and their relation to landscape architecture. The aim is to create the best methodological foundation for development, operation and management of green and sustainable urban environments. The technology development ranges from programming, planning and projecting, operation and management of parks and urban landscapes to innovation and testing of specific techniques and methods. Read more about the research area of the Landscape Technology Group. Some of the major research projects are: The Water Green Africa project, Vand i Byer (Water in Urban Areas) and Dual porosity filtration.

Water Research Initiative

The Water Research Initiative (ViVa) is a strategic initiative that coordinates, promotes and develops interdisciplinary and coherent research and education within the field of water resources at the Faculty of Science. The main focus is on the water cycle in relation to rural and urban land uses, comprising water in soil, water in biomass production and water recycling and waste management. Main water research disciplines are: 1) Hydrology and water balances in terrestrial ecosystems, 2) Water quality, 3) Water, hygiene and food safety 4) Waste water, irrigation and food production, 5) Water in urban and periurban areas and 6) Water management and economy. One research theme under the initiative is focusing on Scarce water resources in developing countries.


Waterworlds was a research project funded by the European Research Council. The ambition of the research project was to study local, social responses to environmental disasters related to water, as spurred by the melting of ice in the Arctic and in mountainous glacier areas, the rising of seas that flood islands and coastal communities across the globe, and the drying of lands accelerating desertification in large parts of Africa and elsewhere. The aim was to contribute to a renewed theory of social resilience that builds on the actualities of social life in distinct localities, thus focusing on human agency as the basis for people's quest for certainty in exposed environments. The project is completed.