Academic Profile

Dr David Johnstone has 50 years of practical experience in the water and wastewater sector in the UK and overseas in over 30 countries, particularly in Latin America, South East Asia and the Middle East. Originally trained as a chemist with a PhD in Physical Chemistry, he spent his early career engaged in research into wastewater treatment processes. He joined Thames Water Authority soon after its formation in 1974 as a Divisional Scientist which was followed by a period in general operational management when he was responsible for water supply, distribution, sewerage and sewage treatment services for a large area of the Thames basin. In 1984 he joined Sir William Halcrow and Partners as Director of Public Health Engineering working mainly overseas. Following a short period with the Water Research Centre he became an independent consultant in 1992 since when he has been involved with a number of high profile institutional and privatisation projects in the industrialising world and has acted as an Expert Witness in several major contractual disputes and major planning enquiries. Over an eight year period he advised on the process design, bidding and procurement of two of the largest sewage treatment works in the world in São Paulo, Brazil. He has also worked on the strengthening of the operational and managerial capacity of developing world water utilities. Recently he served as Consultant to the United Nation’s Taskforce on Wastewater contributing to the establishment of a Sustainable Development Goal for Water to replace the Millennium Development Goal for Water and Sanitation which expire in 2015.

In addition to his practical work, David has always had strong links with academia. He is currently Senior Research Associate at the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University where he helped develop, and now lectures on, a Master’s course on “Water Science, Policy and Management”. He also served as a Visiting Industrial Professor in the Faculty of Engineering at Bristol University, and External MSc and Diploma Programme Assessor for the Water Engineering for Developing Countries (WEDC) Unit at the University of Loughborough. He has contributed chapters to five textbooks and co-authored a textbook on wastewater treatment as well as publishing some 35 papers and more than a hundred project reports on process engineering, institutional issues, company audits, standards and regulatory matters. In 1984 he was awarded Institute of Water Pollution Control's Fowler, Ardern and Lockett Award for significant contributions to the knowledge of activated sludge systems and in 1994 the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management's Publication Award for a paper entitled "Standards, Costs and Benefits: An International Perspective". Although now semi-retired his current interests are concerned with the reuse of treated wastewaters and capacity building and strengthening of developing world water utilities. He is also a member of the Editorial Advisory Panel for the journal “Water Utility Management International”; and a Member of the Court of the “Worshipful Company of Water Conservators”.

Current Research


Selected Publications

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