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Emeritus Professors

Allan, Professor Tony

tony allenEmeritus Professor

Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2028  

Department of Geography 
King's College London 
King's Building 
Strand Campus 
WC2R 2LS  



A pioneer in the development of key concepts in the understanding and communication of water issues and how they are linked to agriculture, climate change, economics and politics, Tony Allan was named the Stockholm Water Prize Laureate on 19 March 2008.

Tony Allan's research focuses 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 major current research focus takes into account the underlying fundamentals of water in the hydrological cycle and the impact of engineering interventions. Policy issues are a prime concern and especially the difficulties that scientists and professionals encounter in gaining a place for their 'knowledge' in water policy discourses. In the Middle East and North Africa - a major regional focus of research - it has been shown that the water crisis has been ameliorated through the availability of virtual water embedded in the international food trade.

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. A third research focus is the institutional basis of water policy reform. A fourth is the financing of the water sector. The KCL Water Research Group networks intensively with scientists and professionals in the water sector in the North and the South. The group is recognised both as a major innovator of economic, social and political interdisciplinary theory and as a serious contributor to water policy analysis.

In 1993, Professor Allan made a major breakthrough in how to demonstrate the measurement of water that is embedded in the production of foods and industrial products, by introducing the concept of 'virtual water'.

Research interests
  • understanding and communication of water issues
  • how water issues are linked to agriculture, climate change, economics and politics
  • social and political contexts which influence and determine water use and water policy
  • global water resource

Allan, J.A. Constructing and foregrounding and back-grounding risk: consequences for water-policy making in the MENA region. Bulletin of the Rural Institute for Inter-Faith Studies. Special issue on Risk, Complex, Crises and Social Futures, in press. 

Allan, J.A. Virtual water eliminates water wars: water, food and trade. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, in press. 

Allan, J.A., Turton, A., Nicol, A. (2003) Policy options in water stressed states: emerging lessons from the Middle East and Southern Africa. Pretoria, AWIRU and London: ODI, 86p., ISBN 0-620-31035-9. 

Allan, J.A., Sullivan, C. et al. (2003) The water poverty index: development and application at the community scale, Natural Resources Forum, 27, 189-199. 

Allan, J.A. (2002) Hydro-peace in the Middle East: why no water wars? A case study of the Jordan River Basin, SAIS Review, XXII, 255-272 

Allan, J.A.(2002) The Middle East water question: looking behind conventional assumptions, Journal of Social Affairs, Journal of the Sociological Association of the UAE and the University of Sharjah, 19, 37-52. 

Allan, J.A (2003) Virtual water - the water, food and trade nexus: useful concept or misleading metaphor? Water International, 28, 4-11. 

Allan, J.A. (2003) Poor communities in water resource management: A political project, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, nytt, Special Issue, Water in Asia: the policy impact, 2, 20-22. 

Allan, J.A. (2003) The Middle East water question: looking behind conventional assumptions. Journal of Social Affairs (Sociological Association of the UAE), 19, 37-52. 

Allan, J.A. (2003) Virtual water eliminates water wars, in Hoekstra (Editor), Virtual water trade, Delft (Netherlands): IHE, 137-145. 

Allan, J.A. (2003) Policy analysis and institutional frameworks in climate and water. In: Kabat, P., Schulze, R. E., Hellmuth, M.E. and Veraart, J.A. (eds.) Coping with impacts of climate variability and climate change in water management: a scoping paper, Delft: IHE-Dialogue on water and climate, 58-70. 

Allan, J.A. (2002) Water resources in semi-arid regions: real deficits and economically invisible and politically silent solutions. In: Turton, A. and Henwood, R. (eds.) Hydro-politics in the developing world, a southern African perspective, Pretoria: AWIRU at Pretoria University, pp 23-36 

Allan, J.A. (2001) Virtual water: invisible solutions and second best policy outcomes in the MENA region. International Water and Irrigation Journal. 

Allan, J.A. (2001) Wasserpolitik fur das neue Jahrtausend: gesellschaft, diskuts und macht. Inamo (Informationsprojekt Naher and Mittlerer Osten), Special issue on Wasserpolitik: probleme und perspecktiven, 27, 3-6. ISSN 0946 0721 

Allan, J.A. (2001 The Middle East water question: hydro-politics and the global economy. London: I B Tauris, ISBN 1-06064-582-8, 382 pp, as paperback, ISBN 1-86064-813-4 



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