Halliday, Sarah


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Research activity per year

Personal profile


Water is our most precious natural resource and critical to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I am a hydrologist, and my research interests lie in the field of environmental monitoring and modelling with a particular interest in the application of novel technologies and analysis approaches. My work focuses on understanding how our freshwater environments function and how they respond to different drivers of change (land-use, climatic) and pressures (pollution, abstraction). I am an associate member of the Dundee UNESCO Centre for Water Law, Policy and Science.


My interdisciplinary research is interested in providing critical understanding about how our freshwater environments and their associated ecosystems, can be managed to deliver the many, and sometimes conflicting, ecosystem services and functions needed by society.

Pollution is a significant threat to our freshwater environments. My research is focused on understanding and quantifying pollution risk and impacts, considering known and emergent pollutants and how pollution can be prevented and mitigated. I am also interested to understand the vulnerabilities of the Scottish freshwater resources to hydrological extremes (droughts/floods) and how these events impact freshwater quality, ecosystem function, and service provision (drinking water/key industries). I am interested in topics such as drinking water security, and how this links to the One Health agenda. My historic research has also looked at the role of in situ high-frequency hydrochemical monitoring, in developing new understanding of catchment biogeochemical processing and the role of instream processes. I am also interested in how the new process understanding gained from this work, can be used to inform and improve the development and implementation of effective water quality legislation. 

I am interested in collaborations and/or postgraduate projects relating, but not limited, to the following topics:

  • Controls on freshwater quality
  • Role of legislation in addressing freshwater pollution
  • Emergent contaminants within the freshwater environment
  • Drinking water security
  • Influence of drought on freshwater ecosystems
  • Understanding climate driven land-use change impacts on freshwater ecosystems
  • Public communication on sustainable water use and water scarcity

Current postgraduate students:

  • Sayali Pawar (PhD). HydroNation Scholar. Future-proofing Scotland’s water security: delivering safe and resilient water supplies
  • Emrah Acaroz (PhD). The significance of hydromorphological alteration to aquatic ecosystem function in lakes

Research Projects:


Module Lead: 

  • EV21001 - Management and Monitoring
  • EV22002 - Mechanisms and Measurements 
  • GE32021 - Data Handling and Statistics

Module Contributor: 

  • EV11001 - The Physical Environment
  • EV12002 - Environments for Life
  • GE22003 - Geography Field Course (UK)
  • GE31019 - Research Methods in Human Geography 
  • GE31004 - Hydrology and Water Resources
  • GE41007 - Advance Hydrology and Water Resources
  • GE52024 - Applied GIS and Geospatial Data Analysis
  • GE52033 - Climate Change: Processes and Impacts

Environmental Science Tutor:

  • Second Year

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

PGCert THE, Associate Fellow status of the Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Award Date: 23 May 2018

Doctor of Science, New insights into catchment biogeochemical processing gained from high-frequency water quality data, University of Reading

27 Sept 200928 Nov 2012

Award Date: 28 Nov 2012

Master in Science, MSc Environmental Monitoring Modelling and Management (Distinction), King's College London

Sept 2006Sept 2007

Award Date: 28 Sept 2007

Bachelor of Science, BSc Geography and Mathematics, University of St Andrews

Sept 2002Jun 2006

Award Date: 22 Jun 2006

External positions


1 Jan 2021 → …

Climate Action Team

Mar 2020 → …

Editorial Board Member

2020 → …


  • GE Environmental Sciences
  • Water Resources
  • Water Quality
  • Hydrology
  • Water Resource Management
  • Hydrochemcial Modelling
  • Catchment Management
  • Drinking Water
  • Water Scarcity
  • Drought


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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