Patrick Thomson headshot
Water Science • Policy and Management

Patrick Thomson is Lead Researcher for the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment's Water Programme at the University of Oxford. Patrick's research focuses on the use of technology and improved data to enable institutional change and improve health outcomes in the rural water sector. Patrick developed the first 'Smart Handpump' and manages its continuing technical evolution and operational implementation at Oxford University.

Along with colleagues in Oxford’s Department of Engineering, Patrick holds a patent for using the Smart Handpumps technology for aquifer depth estimation and pump failure prediction. Prior to moving into academic research, Patrick worked for The HALO Trust for over five years, living variously in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia and the Caucasus. He is a Chartered Engineer, having worked as an aerospace system engineer following his undergraduate studies.

Research Interests

  • Gro for GooD: Groundwater Risk Management for Growth and Development
  • Insuring against rural water risk in Africa
  • Groundwater Risks and Institutional Responses for Poverty Reduction in Africa
  • Does Intermittent Quality of Water Supply due to Broken Handpumps influence Diarrhoeal Disease Incidence in Rural Kenya?
  • New Mobile Citizens and Waterpoint Sustainability in Rural Africa
  • Pump-priming Mobile Water Science for Global Development Impacts
  • Smart Water Systems

Education

  • Currently undertaking a part-time PhD at the University of Reading, investigating whether improved rural water services lead to measurable health improvements
  • MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management at the University of Oxford in 2010
  • MEng from the University of Oxford

Recent Publications

  • Charles, K.J., Nowicki, S., Thomson, P. and Bradley, D. (2019) Water and Health: A Dynamic, Enduring Challenge. Chapter 6 in, Dadson, S.J., Garrick, D.E., Penning-Rowsell, E.C., Hall, J.W., Hope, R. and Hughes, J. (eds.) Water Science, Policy, and Management: A Global Challenge. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. pp. 97-116. ISBN: 9781119520603.
  • Dadson, S.J., Hirpa, F., Thomson, P. and Konar, M. (2019) Monitoring and Modelling Hydrological Processes. Chapter 7 in, Dadson, S.J., Garrick, D.E., Penning-Rowsell, E.C., Hall, J.W., Hope, R. and Hughes, J. (eds.) Water Science, Policy, and Management: A Global Challenge. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. pp. 117-137. ISBN: 9781119520603.
  • Hope, R., Foster, T., Koehler, J. and Thomson, P. (2019) Rural Water Policy in Africa and Asia. Chapter 9 in, Dadson, S.J., Garrick, D.E., Penning-Rowsell, E.C., Hall, J.W., Hope, R. and Hughes, J. (eds.) Water Science, Policy and Management: A Global Challenge. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. pp. 159-179. ISBN: 9781119520603.
  • Nowicki, S., Lapworth, D.J., Ward, J.S.T., Thomson, P. and Charles, K. (2019) Tryptophan-like fluorescence as a measure of microbial contamination risk in groundwater. Science of The Total Environment, 646: 782-791.
  • Thomson, P., Bradley, D., Katilu, A., Katuva, J., Lanzoni, M., Koehler, J. and Hope, R. (2019) Rainfall and groundwater use in rural Kenya. Science of The Total Environment, 649: 722-730.
  • Foster, T., Willetts, J., Lane, M., Thomson, P., Katuva, J. and Hope, R. (2018) Risk factors associated with rural water supply failure: A 30-year retrospective study of handpumps on the south coast of Kenya. Science of The Total Environment, 626: 156-164.
  • Koehler, J., Rayner, S., Katuva, J., Thomson, P. and Hope, R. (2018) A cultural theory of drinking water risks, values and institutional change. Global Environmental Change, 50: 268-277.
  • Colchester, F.E., Marais, H.G., Thomson, P., Hope, R. and Clifton, D.A. (2017) Accidental infrastructure for groundwater monitoring in Africa. Environmental Modelling and Software, 91: 241-250.
  • Koehler, J., Thomson, P. and Hope, R. (2016) Mobilizing Payments for Water Service Sustainability. Chap. 6 in, Thomas, E.A. (ed.) Broken Pumps and Promises: Incentivizing Impact in Environmental Health. Springer International Publishing. pp. 57-76. ISBN: 978-3-319-28641-9.
  • Thomson, P. and Koehler, J. (2016) Performance-oriented Monitoring for the Water SDG – Challenges, Tensions and Opportunities. Aquatic Procedia, 6: 87-95.
  • Koehler, J., Thomson, P. and Hope, R. (2015) Pump-priming payments for sustainable water services in rural Africa. World Development, 74: 397-411.
  • Colchester, F.E., Greeff, H., Thomson, P., Hope, R. and Clifton, D.A. (2014) Smart Handpumps: A Preliminary Data Analysis. IET Appropriate Healthcare Technologies (AHT), London.. 1-4.