Uncharted waters: water, the economy and sustainable development - a high-level panel hosted by the Oxford Water Network in collaboration with the World Bank

Main Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School, 34 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BD
Fully booked

Water scarcity and shocks trigger wide-ranging impacts on poverty, instability and the economy. Addressing these risks will demand deeper understanding of the complex linkages between water, the economy and sustainable development. It will also require new evidence and tools to guide investment and interventions to measure and manage the risks across a range of contexts, scales and threats.

This event convenes leading experts from the World Bank, Oxford, Australian National University and UK Department for International Development to take stock of the emerging evidence. It will preview findings from a major World Bank study addressing the connections between water and the economy, and the effectiveness of different responses, including analysis of the:

  • Effects of rainfall shocks on land use and agricultural yields;
  • Impacts of rainfall shocks on human capital and firm performance;
  • Policy options to address water scarcity and enhance freshwater


Dr Richard Damania, Global Lead Economist at the World Bank’s Water Practice, will open proceedings with a preview of findings from forthcoming report “Uncharted Waters: the Economics of Water Scarcity”. This presentation will be followed by two expert panels moderated by Dr Dustin Garrick of Oxford University’s Smith School.

Panel 1: Impact of water scarcity and shocks on the economy
How do water scarcity and shocks impact the economy? What is the nature, scale and trajectory of the threats? Which factors mediate and magnify the impacts?


  • Dr Katrina Charles, Co-Director, REACH programme, Oxford University;
  • Dr Simon Dadson, Associate Professor in Physical Geography, Oxford University;
  • Dr Richard Damania, Global Lead Economist, World Bank Water Practice;
  • Prof Jim Hall, Director, Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University;
  • Dr Aude-Sophia Rodella, Economist at the World Bank's Poverty Reduction, Gender and Equity Unit, for the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Panel 2: Moving from evidence to policy and innovation
What are the pathways to address water scarcity and shocks? How do these vary? What are the evidence gaps and strategies to catalyse transformative change?


  • Prof Quentin Grafton, UNESCO Chair in Water Economics and Transboundary Water Governance, Australian National University;
  • Dr Robert Hope, Associate Professor and Director, REACH programme, Oxford University;
  • Dr Scott Moore, Young Professional, World Bank;
  • Jean-Paul Penrose, Senior Water Adviser, UK Department for International Development;
  • Ranu Sinha, DPhil Candidate and Indira Gandhi Scholar, Somerville College, Oxford University.

This event will be followed by refreshments at the Oxford Martin School.


Main Lecture Theatre,
Oxford Martin School,
34 Broad Street,
Oxford, OX1 3BD