UCL Department of Geography


Richard Taylor

I grew up in Canada (BSc Hons Queen’s University, PhD University of Toronto). After a short stint at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, I began my career working with the Water Development Department in rural Uganda where we traced the hydrogeological conditions that sustain water supplies from wells and springs to the long-term evolution of the landscape. This formative experience led to a career at UCL focused on the development and interrogation of observations to advance understanding of groundwater systems in order to sustain equitable access to water for drinking and irrigation in low-income countries in the tropics most affected by global change.

More about Professor Taylor

My research and teaching continue to be informed by long-term collaborations with fellow scientists across tropical Africa and South Asia.

For over a decade I led the International Association of Hydrogeologists’ Commission on Groundwater and Climate Change. Most recently, I was a Contributing Author to two chapters (Changing Water CycleAfrica) of the 6th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and Lead Author of a chapter of the latest UN World Water Development Report 2022: Groundwater, Aquifers and Climate Change. I continue to explore through observations and models the relationship between climate change and groundwater, the world’s largest distributed store of freshwater.


I teach on the following modules: 




To view Professor Taylor's publications, please visit UCL Profiles:


    Research Interests

    I work with researchers, practitioners and stakeholders across tropical Africa and South Asia to inform strategies to expand and sustain access to safe water for drinking and food production.  

    I have led large transdisciplinary research consortia to address these challenges and am currently co-lead PI of the CLARITY consortium, seeking to support equitable and climate-resilient solutions to increase and sustain water provision in the tropical drylands of Africa and South Asia.

    My research is rooted in the development and analysis of observations as well as the strengthening of individual and institutional capacities.


    Dependence upon groundwater to alleviate poverty in low-income countries across the tropics is substantial and growing yet the renewability of groundwater withdrawals under climate change remains unclear. My collaborative research with research institutions, practitioners and other stakeholders shows groundwater to be naturally resilient to climate change as the intensification of rainfall brought about by global warming often serves to enhance groundwater replenishment.

    My research provides a robust, evidence-led platform to develop climate-resilient strategies across tropical Africa to sustain the expansion of irrigated agriculture and improve access to safe water in pursuit of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 (zero hunger) and 6 (universal access to safe water and sanitation).

    Examples of this impact can be found in stakeholders, be it households to national governments employing this research to improve access to safe water in Uganda and Senegal, to sustain the water supply to Tanzania’s rapidly growing dryland capital city (Dodoma), and to expand and sustain smallholder irrigation in Bangladesh and Niger.

    Research Students

    PhD students

    • 2022-now: Benjamin Graves (tertiary supervisor) London NERC DTP Fellowship: Glacier and Hydrological Response to Climate Change in the Khumbu Valley, Nepal
    • 2022-now: Yusuf Ibrahim (2nd supervisor) IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) PhD Fellowship: Groundwater recharge pathways to the Middle Zone of the Chad Formation in the Lake Chad Basin of Nigeria
    • 2022-now: Arifin (1st supervisor) Government of Indonesia PhD Fellowship: Hydrogeology of deep groundwater in the Lower Kutai Basin of Indonesia  
    • 2021-now: Ahmed Ziaur Rahman (2nd supervisor) Government of Bangladesh PhD Fellowship: Geospatial assessment of water and soil salinization risk to climate and disaster resilience in coastal Bangladesh
    • 2018-now: Abdoulaye Pouye (co-supervisor, based at Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal) AfriWatSan-supported PhD Fellowship: Water flow and solute transport in the unsaturated zone of the Thiaroye aquifer: assessing on-site sanitation impacts on groundwater quality
    • 2017-now: Mohammad Izazul Haq (1st supervisor) Commonwealth Doctoral Fellowship: Risk of groundwater salinisation in an Asian mega-delta under global change: evidence from the Bengal Basin 
    Research Grants, Prizes and Awards