Skip navigation

April McAlpine


MSc Disaster Management and Sustainable Development, Northumbria University, 2009

PhD Project (working title)

Patronage, water and women (at the margins): Cambodia’s contaminated groundwater and how poor and marginalised groups negotiate access and rights to safe water in a post-conflict, authoritarian state.


Many rural Cambodians suffer from a lack of adequate, clean domestic water, commonly relying on groundwater, rainwater and surface water for their domestic water needs. This has lead to widespread rural water poverty.

This is further compounded by the fact that groundwater from the underground aquifer, once heralded as a cost-effective source of convenient, pathogen-free drinking water for rural populations, has been found to contain unsafe levels of naturally occurring heavy metals such as arsenic, fluoride and nitrate as well as agricultural and industrial pollutants. I will be researching water poverty in the Cambodian socio-political context, particually how women and marginalised ‘others’ access safe drinking water under a regime dominated by hierarchical control, patron-client relationships and the neoliberal development agenda of donor agencies. I would like to understand what such a combination does to peoples’ capabilities to access water. In such a context, is it possible to move beyond top-down aid interventions to grass-roots social movements which result in the radical transformation of power relations?

Research interests

Water poverty and marginalisation
Gender and power relations
Neoliberal development agenda
Environment and development


Jones, S. and McAlpine, A. (2009), A review of environment and development priorities for Cambodia, CALIBRE Project, The University of Manchester


a sign in front of a crowd

Northumbria Open Days

Open Days are a great way for you to get a feel of the University, the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the course(s) you are interested in.

a person sitting at a table using a laptop
NU World Virtual Tours

Virtual Tour

Get an insight into life at Northumbria at the click of a button! Come and explore our videos and 360 panoramas to immerse yourself in our campuses and get a feel for what it is like studying here using our interactive virtual tour.

Latest News and Features

Nicola Elliott, founder of leading wellbeing brand NEOM Organics London
Chiara Ingravallo and Nathan Goodison from Northumbria University collect the award for Best Student Drama at the Royal Television Society Awards for the North East and Borders.
Military uniform
Nursing Degree Apprenticeship shortlisted for national award
Simulated learning using virtual reality recognised as example of best practice in nursing education
A three-year research project, led by academics from Northumbria University, aims to better connect the care system and expand it include creative health approaches such as art, crafts, sports, gardening or cooking to provide holistic support tailored to individuals. Getty Images.
More news

Back to top