University of Surrey

The University has been working towards the provision of safe water for over 30 years.

It has amassed unique and priceless experiences and expertise, developing a reputation for excellence in research and practice among fellow academics, governments and disaster relief NGOs.

It is a designated World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for the protection of water quality and human health.

Video: Why is studying water important?

Video: Portable water testing kit

Professor Adel Sharif, Director of the Centre for Osmosis Research and Applications

Professor Adel Sharif, Director of the Centre for Osmosis Research and Applications

Our mission is to provide affordable access to water for drinking and irrigation purposes. The Queen's Anniversary Prize is a significant endorsement of our work.

The Centre for Osmosis Research and Applications

The Centre was set up to address the global problems of fresh water availability and the treatment and disposal of wastewater. Since then the Centre’s research activities have led to many innovations, the most notable of which is the development of Manipulated Osmosis Desalination (MOD).

MOD uses both forward and reverse osmosis to remove salt from sea water. The system uses 30 per cent less energy than conventional desalination plants and, when compared to 30 competing technologies, it produced the cleanest drinking water available.

Two MOD plants are currently operating in Oman. The technology is the subject of 12 individual patent applications. Professor Adel Sharif, the Centre’s Director, says: “Our mission is to provide affordable access to water for drinking and irrigation purposes. The Queen’s Anniversary Prize is a significant endorsement of our work.”

More about the Centre for Osmosis Research and Applications and Professor Adel Sharif.

Professor Neil Ward, Professor in Analytical Chemistry

The Prize is both recognition of our work and the efforts of local communities in Argentina. The Prize underpins the importance of what we’re trying to do.

Water for Life

The Water for Life project helps communities in Patagonia improve the region’s water quality. Professor Neil Ward and Surrey’s PhD researchers have carried out practical analyses of the water in the Rio Negro and Rio Colorado rivers alongside local school children. The tests revealed chemical levels in the water above the WHO guidelines for drinking water. Professor Ward says that the collaboration between the University and Patagonian schools created a unique template for community engagement.

“We didn’t want to challenge local authorities as foreign scientists pointing a finger at their problems; we wanted to work with the local community, to use education as a means for local children to share their experiences with data in the community.”

The project has ballooned over the past three years: six schools are actively involved in field work in Rio Negro, and 40 more have written requesting to be involved. More about Professor Neil Ward.

Mr Lowell Lewis, EngD researcher

Water is often the thing that gets missed when people talk about the environment, but it's just as important. Being awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize is a great achievement and it means that I'm doing water research at a University that has been acknowledged as a leader in the field.

Improving our recreational water

While Surrey is at the forefront of the important drive to provide more clean drinking water, our academics also focus their attention on other uses of H2O.

EngD researcher Lowell Lewis is currently undertaking a project that aims to improve the quality of water used in swimming pools and reduce energy and financial wastage.

The scientific guidance Lowell will be able to pass on to pool operators could also ensure that the water filling the nation’s pools is as safe as possible for the public to swim in.

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