Professor Joby Boxall
Head of Department
Professor of Water Infrastructure Engineering
Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street, Sheffield, S1 3JD
Telephone: +44 (0) 114 222 5760
Fax: +44 (0) 114 222 5700
My research protects public health and well-being through ensuring the quality of our drinking water and the resilience of our water supply networks.
Professor Joby Boxall
Professor Joby Boxall is Chair of Water Infrastructure Engineering and Head of the Department. He trained as a civil engineer, completing his undergraduate degree and his PhD in mixing and transport of pollutants in natural river channels, in the Department. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management.
Joby’s research is concerned with urban water (with a focus on water supply, distribution pipe networks in particular), and helps to protect public health and well-being through ensuring the quality of that supply. He takes a multidisciplinary approach to ensuring the provision of sustainable water services in the face of global grand challenges such as population growth and increasing density, climate change and ageing infrastructure. Joby works to monitor water quality, such as discolouration or bacteriological issues. He looks at the conditions inside our water pipes, including the biofilms in our water systems to ensure they don’t harbour harmful bacteria. He also investigates contaminant ingress, where dangerous contaminants can enter pipes through leaks and be transported through the pipe network. Joby’s work aims to understand our hydraulics systems’ behaviour by modelling networks and using physical flow measurements, to better predict where failures might occur and address quantity issues. His work on leakage ranges from fundamental understanding of fluid structure ground iterations to novel artificial intelligence based software for leak detection that has been commercialised.
His core expertise is in hydraulic engineering, but he is known for integration and application of other disciplines to address major challenges. His interdisciplinary work ranges from applied microbiology to computer to social science. His leadership of the EPSRC Water Grand Challenges consortium is a flagship example of this.
Joby’s research focuses on the operation and management of water distribution systems, ranging from leakage, to water quality and asset management. His long-running Prediction of Discolouration in Distribution Systems research is a leading example that has and continues to help water companies and their supply chain to deliver substantial service improvements in the supply of safe and wholesome drinking water through ageing pipe infrastructure, while delivering multi-million-pound savings.
Professor Boxall has taught a range of modules, from specialist masters levels modules on modelling water distribution systems, to core undergraduate modules on open channel hydraulics. He also pioneered innovative ‘self-teach’ open-channel flow laboratory classes.
Joby has held a number of important roles in the Department including being Departmental Director of Research from 2009 to 2014, where he led the 2014 Research Excellence Framework submission. He took over as Head of Department in 2017.
- Disturbance Extraction for Burst Detection in Water Distribution Networks Using Pressure Measurements. Water Resources Research, 56(5).
- Application of enhanced assimilable organic carbon method across operational drinking water systems. PLOS ONE, 14(12). View this article in WRRO
- Impact of hydraulic interventions on chronic and acute material loading and discolouration risk in drinking water distribution systems. Water Research. View this article in WRRO
- A novel demonstration of adhered material mobilisation by hydraulic transients. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, 5(12), 2132-2141. View this article in WRRO
- Identification of the Causes of Drinking Water Discolouration from Machine Learning Analysis of Historical Datasets. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology. View this article in WRRO
- Biofilm microbiome (re)growth dynamics in drinking water distribution systems are impacted by chlorine concentration. Frontiers in Microbiology, 9(OCT). View this article in WRRO
- Succession of bacterial and fungal communities within biofilms of a chlorinated drinking water distribution system. Water Research, 141, 74-85. View this article in WRRO
- Derivation and validation of a leakage model for longitudinal slits in polyethylene pipes. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 144(7). View this article in WRRO
- Biofilm structures (EPS and bacterial communities) in drinking water distribution systems are conditioned by hydraulics and influence discolouration. Science of the Total Environment, 593-594, 571-580. View this article in WRRO
- Spatial and temporal analogies in microbial communities in natural drinking water biofilms. Science of the Total Environment, 581-582, 277-288. View this article in WRRO
- Understanding and Managing Discolouration Risk in Trunk Mains. Water Research, 107, 127-140. View this article in WRRO
- Linking discolouration modelling and biofilm behaviour within drinking water distribution systems. Water Science and Technology: Water Supply, 16(4), 942-950. View this article in WRRO
- Characterising and understanding the impact of microbial biofilms and the extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) matrix in drinking water distribution systems. Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2(4), 614-630. View this article in WRRO
- Portable LED fluorescence instrumentation for the rapid assessment of potable water quality. Science of The Total Environment, 524-525, 338-346. View this article in WRRO
- Experimental Quantification of Contaminant Ingress into a Buried Leaking Pipe during Transient Events. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, 142(1). View this article in WRRO
- Characterisation of the Physical Composition and Microbial Community Structure of Biofilms within a Model Full-Scale Drinking Water Distribution System. PLOS ONE, 10(2), e0115824-e0115824. View this article in WRRO
- Modeling and Field Work to Investigate the Relationship between Age and Quality of Tap Water. JOURNAL OF WATER RESOURCES PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT, 140(9). View this article in WRRO
- Development and verification of an online artificial intelligence system for detection of bursts and other abnormal flows. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, 136(3), 309-318.