Academic Profile

David Grey is a practioner with over 35 years experience worldwide in inter-sectoral water assessment, management and development. He joined Oxford University as Visiting Professor of Water Policy in late 2009 after 26 years as staff of the World Bank. He was the World Bank's Senior Water Advisor from 2003, with responsibility for corporate water policies and advisory oversight of the water community of 400 staff and the portfolio (c. $40 billion) of water resources, irrigation, water supply and sanitation and hydropower. He is a water policy analyst, researcher and writer and he is a manager of large, multi-disciplinary, multi-national teams, controlling large budgets. He has been directly responsible for managing the Bank's long-term support to initiatives on major river basins, including the Nile, Zambezi, Indus, Ganges-Brahmaputra and the 'Rivers of the Greater Himalayas', and he is a member of an international panel of experts of the Mekong River Commission. He trained as a hydrogeologist and was staff of the British Geological Survey for 8 years, including 3 years as Group Manager of Hydrogeology at BGS Wallingford, where he managed groundwater research and management activities in the UK and internationally.

His current special interests are in: the roles that water insecurity plays in poverty, environmental degradation and dispute and water security plays in growth and stability; the role that benefit sharing can play in resolving inter-jurisdictional disputes over water at all levels; and the risks that climate and other change mean for water security, livelihoods and environmental sustainability. He has a long-term interest in the institutional and incentive structures for improving the performance of water and environmental management and water service delivery.

He has had many affiliations over his career. For example, he has been Chair of the World Bank's Water Resources Management Group, Board member of the World Water Council, founding member of the Water and Sanitation Collaborative Council and member of its Preparatory Committee, and a founding partner of the Global Water Partnership. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society. He is currently on an International Panel of Experts for the Mekong River Commission, on an Advisory Panel for the World Bank's Ganges Strategic Assessment, an advisor to the Bank's Nile Team, and a contributor to the UK Government's Foresight Global Migration Project.

Current Research

International Water Resources

  • Development of the 'benefit sharing' paradigm
  • Strategic basin assessments of costs and benefits of cooperation alternatives

Water Resources

  • Development of the 'water security' paradigm, and global analysis of water security and economic growth
  • Analysis of water, development and climate change nexus to identify social, economic and political risks, including conflict and large-scale migration

Water Supply and Sanitation

  • Development and demonstration of the 'village level operation and maintenance' (community management) paradigm
  • Global analysis of intermediate rural water supply and sanitation solutions


Prof. Grey is the Module Leader for 'Water Nexus' for the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management.

Selected Publications

Publications are those that were listed on the old website. Publications database integration forthcoming.