Contact Professor Keith Weatherhead

Areas of expertise

  • Water Science and Engineering


From a farming background, Professor Keith Weatherhead graduated in Engineering Science and Economics from Oxford University. After undertaking VSO in Ghana, he worked for international consultants in water resources and irrigation development for seven years, particularly in Indonesia, qualifying as a chartered civil engineer.

He joined Cranfield University in 1981, on the Silsoe and now Cranfield campuses. He gained his PhD on water resource management as a staff member in 2001. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, and the Higher Education Academy.

He has developed methodologies for predicting future agricultural water demand and for assessing irrigation water needs, and contributed to the improvement of abstraction licensing policy and legislation in England. He has led teams modelling climate change impacts in England, Sri Lanka and Spain, and assessing the potential adaptations in the irrigated agriculture and irrigated sports turf sectors.

Internationally, he has supervised research into tea and sugar cane irrigation in Africa, small scale irrigation methods, and climate adaptation in the water and sanitation sector.

Current activities

Professor Keith Weatherhead undertakes research on climate change adaption, future agricultural water demand, and water resources for irrigation. On-going research projects include projects on water trading (EPSRC/LWEC) and current and water supply for agriculture (BBSRC, Defra). He is supervising PhD students researching how to handle uncertainty in climate adaptation, the role for farmer groups in water allocation, and small-scale pumped irrigation in Africa. He works closely with the UK water sector, and is a member of the CIWEM Water Resources Panel, the UK Irrigation Association executive committee, and the NFU-led Water for Food group.


Professor Weatherhead’s current and recent clients include research councils (EPSRC and BBSRC), the European Commission, the UK government sector (Defra and the Environment Agency), various water companies, and commercial businesses in the UK and internationally.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Shamal S, Weatherhead E & Knox J (2008) Difficulties in using spectral properties to map irrigated areas in a temperate climate: A case study of potatoes in England. In: 29th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing 2008 (ACRS 2008), Colombo, 10 November 2008.
  • Knox JW, Rodriguez-Diaz JA, Weatherhead EK & Marmol JP (2006) Using water auditing to assess irrigation efficiency: a comparative assessment of trickle, sprinkler and rain-guns on potatoes in Scotland. In: International symposium on water and land management for sustainable irrigated agriculture, Cukurova University Turkey, Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey, 4 April 2006.
  • Rodriguez-Diaz JA, Knox JW & Weatherhead EK (2006) Demanda de agua de riego para campos de golf. In: XXIV Congreso Nacional de Riegos (24th Spanish ICID Congress), Lugo, Spain, 6 June 2006.
  • De Vries TT & Weatherhead EK (2005) Adapting to irrigation water scarcity due to climate change in eastern England. In: Impacts of Global Climate Change, EWRI 2005 World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska, 1-5 May 2005.
  • Knox JW & Weatherhead EK (2005) Using water auditing to assess irrigation efficiency: a comparative assessment of trickle, sprinkler and rain-guns for potato production in the UK. In: US 26th Annual Irrigation Association Show (Technical Session), Arizona, Arizona, USA, 6 November 2005.
  • Morris J, Vasileiou K, Weatherhead EK, Knox JW & Leiva-Baron F (2003)

    The sustainability of irrigation in England and the impact of water pricing and regulation policy options

    . In: International Conference on Computing and Control for the Water Industry, London, 15-17 September 2003.
  • Weatherhead EK (2002) Irrigation water resources in the UK - the way forward.. In: UK Irrigation Association 2002 Spring Conference, UK, 1 July 2002.
  • Knox JW, Weatherhead EK & Hess TM (2001) Integrating spatial data, GIS and a computer model to improve the management and planning of water resources for irrigated agriculture in England and Wales. In: International workshop on geo-spatial knowledge processing for natural resources management, Varese, Italy, 28 June 2001.
  • Twite C L, Morris J, Weatherhead EK & Knox JW (2001) Agricultura de regadýo en el Reino Unido e implicaciones de la directiva marco de agua. In: International seminar on La agricultura de regado Europea y la directiva marco de aguas, Madrid Spain, March 2001, Madrid, Spain, 27 March 2001.
  • Weatherhead EK (1999) Making the most of an essential resource. In: On the Level: newspaper of the Value in Wetness in the Humberhead Levels Conference., UK, 1 February 1999.
  • Grose D J, Parkin C S & Weatherhead EK (1998) Modelling a multi-phase plume in a cross-flow - an agricultural application. In: In A.J. Yule, ed: Proceedings of the 14th international conference on liquid atomization and spray systems, 1 July 1998.
  • Weatherhead EK (1996) Theory and practice in water allocation. In: In: P. Howsam & R.C. Carter, eds. Water Policy: Allocation and Management in Practice: proceedings of International Conference, Cranfield, September 1996, Cranfield, 1 September 1996.
  • Kanber R, Onder S, Koksal H & Weatherhead EK (1994) Comparison of surge and continuous furrow methods in GAP (Southeastern Anatolia Project) area.. In: Proceedings of International Conference on Agricultural Engineering, Milan, Italy, 1 August 1994.
  • DeSilva CS & Weatherhead EK (1994) The use of large diameter wells for supplementary irrigation in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. In: Water down under 94: proceedings of conference., Adelaide, Australia, 1 November 1994.
  • Afzal J & Weatherhead EK (1991) Optimising the alternative use of different quality waters for irrigation. In: G. Tsakiris, ed. Advances in Water Resource Technology: proceedings of the European conference. , Netherlands, 1 July 1991.
  • Weatherhead EK, Hipperson KR & Musa SM (1989) The potential for developing hosereel raingun irrigators. In: E. K Weatherhead, ed. Advances in Irrigation: proceedings of 2nd Northwest European Irrigation Conference, Silsoe 1987. UKIA, Cranfield Press, UK, 1 July 1989.
  • Weatherhead EK (1988) Distribution of water from hosereel irrigators. In: Presented to the 1938-1988 Jubilee Conference of the Institution of Agricultural Engineers, Cambridge. London: Butterworths, UK, 1 July 1988.