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Reuse of wastewater for agricultural irrigation

Supervisors: Mohad Mousavi-Nezhad and Gary Bending


Wastewater reuse for agricultural irrigation is an option to deal with water scarcity and associated threats to food security. Investigations show that treated wastewater may contain micro and nano-pollutants. What is to be explored is the capacity of the soils to act as a filter for purifying wastewater from pollutants. Predicting the filtering capacity of the soils requires a firm scientific foundation for the characterization of basic mechanisms associated with reactive pollutant transport in porous media, and a robust understanding of all relevant processes and properties across the spectrum of relevant length and time scales. This project aims to develop and use machine learning algorithms that quantify the rate of interaction between the micropollutants and soil termed sorption rates.

Links to HetSys Training

The project brings together all aspects of the mathematical, scientific and software-design training programme provided by HetSys, as well as the richness of the inter-disciplinary expertise within the Centre. The project requires development of surrogate models to evaluate reaction rates in heterogenous soils (PX912), uncertainty quantification (PX914) and robust software engineering (PX913) to successfully achieve the desired outcomes.

This project benefits from the significant levels of inter-disciplinary expertise within the supervision team (Dr Nezhad: geostatistics, stochastic modelling techniques and model calibrations, and Prof. Gary Bending: the fundamental science related to the chemical reaction process). Since one of its key objectives is to train students to span disciplinary boundaries, HetSys provides an ideal environment for this project. A central focus will be development of modelling in the presence of uncertainty which is related to the heterogeneity of soils and also the study of interactions for multiscale transport and reaction processes. A main outcome of this project will be to develop new Research Software which is well-structured and documented, so that it will both have a long life and can be extended in future.

Are you interested in applying for this project? Head over to our Study with Us page for information on the application process, and the HetSys training programme.

For the 2023/24 academic year, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funding is open to both UK and International research students. Awards pay a stipend to cover maintenance as well as paying the university fees and providing a research training support grant. For further details, please visit the HetSys Funding Page

At the University of Warwick, we strongly value equity, diversity and inclusion, and HetSys will provide a healthy working environment dedicated to outstanding scientific guidance, mentorship and personal development. Read more about life in the HetSys CDT here.

HetSys is proud to be a part of the Physics Department which holds an Athena SWAN Silver award, a national initiative to promote gender equality for all staff and students. The Physics Department is also a Juno Champion, which is an award from the Institute of Physics to recognise our efforts to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men.