Donald Robertson

PhD Candidate

Donald is in the first year of his PhD at the University of Strathclyde. Donald’s areas of interest are in hydrogeology and groundwater sustainability. Supervised by Prof Robert Kalin. Donald has been working closely with the Scottish Government supported Climate Justice Fund: Water Futures Programme in support of his PhD research.


Donald’s background is in Geology having completed a BSc (Hons) Geology degree at the University of Manchester before moving onto the MSc Hydrogeology course at the University of Strathclyde.


Donald is currently on a voluntary suspension of his studies as he takes up a short term contract with the CJF team at the University of Strathclyde to support both the wider programme team but also his studies.

Donald Robertson.jpg

Groundwater Sustainability in Malawi – human and environmental controls on groundwater availability and the impact on progress towards the SDGs.

Research overview

The ambitious targets set out by the United Nations in 2015 as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are designed to address long-term issues facing nations and people across the world. In order to underpin development efforts set out by the SDGs it is important to be working from a foundation of solid science. Donald’s research aims to develop an understanding of groundwater sustainability in Malawi in order to inform progress towards meeting the SDGs, in particular SDG 6.


By using a combination of traditional environmental monitoring data (GW levels, rainfall, evapotranspiration etc) with a comprehensive rural water point mapping exercise Donald is looking towards establish an understanding of the current situation and sustainability of rural water supplies aim Malawi and how climate change, population growth and other natural and human challenges might influence this in the future.

Activities and outputs

  • Led training workshops in Malawi for Government of Malawi officials and NGO staff on the use of water point mapping data to inform decision making.

  • Supported through research the development of a Water Development Plan for Malawi’s Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and, Water Development.

  • Assisted in the organization of a knowledge exchange visit for the Minister for Agriculture, Irrigation and, Water Development to Scotland.

  • Arranged an event at World Water Week 2018 entitled “Country-led asset management systems to improve WASH services".

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