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Tony Allan ;

Professor Tony Allan (1937 - 2021): An intellectual pioneer and an inspiration to students and colleagues

Tony was a distinguished scholar, most noted for his ground-breaking work on virtual water. His work reshaped thinking on water management and policy, with global impact.

He started his career as a physical geographer, establishing himself as an expert on Libya and remote sensing. His extensive work in the Middle East and North Africa led to exploring the politics and policy of water resources management. His interdisciplinary insight produced important studies on virtual water, which demonstrated the significant role of water embedded in agricultural production. He was the first to point out that trade of food products enabled water-scarce countries to relieve pressure on their water supply, making virtual water an important consideration for water policy. His work exposed the deep flaws in the current systems that produce and supply food and enable its consumption, as they do not value the impacts to water and land. He was recognised for his pioneering work and long-term contributions to research and policy in 2008 with the highly prestigious Stockholm Water Prize. He was also the recipient of the Florence Monito Water Prize and the Monaco Water Prize, both in 2013. The concept of virtual water is now widely adopted in national policies and private sector practices. Virtual water is also taught as part of UK geography A-level syllabus. He valued communicating science and in later years worked on raising awareness of good water stewardship within and beyond the academy.

Tony Allan
The late Professor Tony Allan

Tony has been a huge contributor to our Departmental life for many years, even after his retirement. He would often be in the common room, having supervision meetings and being deep in conversation with students and colleagues. He strove to ensure research had impact and usefulness, advising numerous governments and working international organisations and the private sector. His great intellectual curiosity meant that he was a regular at departmental seminars and workshops. He generously gave time and thoughts to students and colleagues.

Last academic year, we had the opportunity to celebrate his latest book and thank his contributions. He was characteristically humble about his achievements.

An online book of condolences has been set up at:

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Tony Allan

Emeritus Professor

Naho Mirumachi

Naho Mirumachi

Professor in Environmental Politics

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