Academic Profile

Dr Charles is an environmental engineer who focuses on improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Throughout her career she has worked on issues related to water and sanitation that include: public health, environmental fate and transport of pathogens, impacts of climate change on access, and barriers to adequate sanitation in informal settlements. Her work has been funded by the World Health Organization, DFID, UK Research Councils (NERC/ESRC), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and includes work in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. Dr Charles undertook her PhD on a risk-based approach to management of decentralised wastewater treatment systems in Sydney's drinking water catchments in Australia. She joined the University of Oxford in 2013 having previously been a lecturer at the University of Surrey.

Current Research

Dr Charles' research encompasses a range of cross-disciplinary approaches to understanding and improving water security for the poor. She is active in research in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr Charles is the co-director of the REACH: Improving water security for the poor programme, which addresses water security challenges in Kenya, Ethiopia and Bangladesh. Her work addresses the role of human behaviour in achieving water security; management of water-related health risks; and the impact of climate variability and climate change on water security.

Selected Research Projects


Dr Charles was previously the course director of the MSc in Water Science, Policy and Management. She coordinates and teaches the Water and Health module with Professor David Bradley. She leads an elective on Health, Envrionment and Development, in collaboration with Dr Proochista Ariana in the Centre for Tropical Medicine and Global Health. She contributes to the MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine.

Current Graduate Research Students

Saskia Nowicki

The risk assessment imperative for ‘safe’ drinking water: traversing the technology-policy-management nexus to secure clean water supply

Thanti Octavianti

Achieving water security in a developing-country delta city: Challenges from a waterfront development project in Jakarta Bay

Recent Graduate Research Students (since 2006)

Julian Kirchherr
Completed DPhil in 2017

The Anti-Dam Protest Cycle: Evidence from Asia

Recent Graduate Research Students

Kenan Okurut
Completed DPhil in 2015
Demand-driven sustainable sanitation improvements in low-income informal settlements: a collective approach for East African cities (University of Surrey)

Selected Publications

  • View Dr Katrina Charles's ORCID profile
  • View Dr Katrina Charles's Scopus profile
  • View Dr Katrina Charles's ResearchGate profile
  • View Dr Katrina Charles's profile
  • View Dr Katrina Charles's Google Scholar profile
  • View Dr Katrina Charles's ResearcherID profile

Journal Articles

Book Chapters