PROFESSOR Mark Macklin and his team have been awarded £300,000 through the British Council Newton – Al-Farabi partnership program award. The programme is a five-year, £20 million joint programme launched in 2014 by the UK government in partnership with the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan – with each side providing equal funding.
Professor Mark Macklin has been Professor of Physical Geography at Aberystwyth since 1999, and was the founding Head of the River Basin Dynamics and Hydrology Research Group. He is also Director of the Centre for Catchment and Coastal Research and holds the Chair of Fluvial Geomorphology at Massey University, New Zealand.
Professor Macklin will work in Kazakhstan jointly with Dr Willem Toonen to develop an evidence-based water resources management strategy in south Kazakhstan. Fieldwork will be carried out to evaluate the effects of past and present metal mining on water and sediment quality in the region; assess the current flood risk and community vulnerability to climate change; and, mitigate these problems by producing policies that improve water stress resilience.
The project will involve collaboration with leading universities in Kazakhstan, and the government funded Institute of Geography in Almaty, to maximise knowledge transfer and to train the next generation of Kazakh water resource managers.
The population of southern Kazakhstan is almost entirely dependent on water supply from the glaciers and snowfields of the Pamir and Tien Shan Mountains. Repeated environmental crises in antiquity and the Soviet period and flooding have shown river systems and irrigation based agricultural communities are particularly susceptible to short-term climate change.
Professor Macklin and Dr Tooten will be travelling to Kazakhstan on 19 August to begin fieldwork.
Professor Macklin said:
“Kazakhstan occupies a pivotal position in Central Asian hydro- politics and this project will help lay the foundations for sustainable development of water resources in the region for the 21st century”.