Professor Tony Allan

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Professor Tony Allan

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Tony Allan focuses his research on the social and political contexts which influence and usually determine water use and water policy. The research aims to explain why environmental and economic priorities fail to figure on the agenda of those using and allocating water. The research so far has deployed a wide range of environmental, economic, social and political theory. The rich diversity of the theorisation is a feature of the international contribution of the Water Issues Research Group at SOAS. Research takes into account the underlying fundamentals of water in the hydrological cycle and the impact of engineering interventions. The difficulties that scientists and professionals encounter in gaining a place for their 'knowledge' in water policy discourses is the major current research theme. In the Middle East and North Africa, the regional focus of research, it has been shown that the water crisis has been ameliorated through the availability of virtual water embedded in food traded internationally. A second research focus is global water resource and the extent to which global resources will be sufficient to meet the needs of future populations. The Middle Eastern and global issues have been addressed in the books – The Nile: sharing a scarce resource [with Paul Howell], Cambridge, CUP 1995, Water and peace in the Middle East: negotiating resources in the Jordan Basin, London Tauris 1996. His ideas on water security are set out in The Middle East water question: hydropolitics and the global economy, Tauris 2001 and in a new book entitled Virtual water, Tauris 2010. In 2008 he was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize in recognition of his contribution to water science and water policy.

Minor, but important, research interests are first, the mapping of the languages of Asia and Africa and of diaspora communities in the UK, and secondly the deployment of Earth observation and GIS techniques in resource use and management at the level of the local community and higher administrative levels.

Current Research

Current research focuses  are three projects – 1. Water, food and trade, 2. Financing the water sector, and what the water research group has called the fifth paradigm in water management, namely 3. The inclusive political and institutional context of water policy making.

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