Let's talk about water

Whetting appetites for Bath's water research

Tagged: Architecture and Civil Engineering

The Future of UK Coastal Research

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

The following blog post was contributed by Chris Blenkinsopp from the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

The 13th UK Young Coastal Scientists and Engineers Conference (YCSEC) was held at Bath on 11-12th April as part of the University’s 50th Anniversary celebrations organised by the Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience (WEIR) research group and WIRC @ Bath.  The goal of the conference is to provide a unique opportunity for leading young coastal scientists and engineers working in academia and industry throughout the UK to present their work and network with their peers.  Building on the success of previous conferences, the 13th YCSEC brought over 60 early career researchers and practitioners from more than 30 UK and overseas universities, research institutes and companies together for two days of fascinating presentations and exciting discussions.



The effects of oxygen availability and turbulence on water quality in lakes and reservoirs

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

This March sees the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath.

Title: The effects of oxygen availability and turbulence on water quality in lakes and reservoirs

Speaker: Dr Lee Bryant


When: 16 March2017 at 1.15pm

Where:  CB 4.8,University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: Oxygen and mixing conditions in aquatic systems have a significant influence on the biogeochemical cycling of nutrients, metals, and other species at the sediment-water interface; these fluxes often control water quality in lakes and reservoirs. In an effort to counter problems with decreased water quality stemming from anoxic conditions, engineered techniques such as hypolimnetic oxygenation systems are being used more and more prevalently to increase aquatic oxygen concentrations and reduce concentrations of deleterious soluble species. Decreased oxygen levels in oceans are also becoming increasingly problematic due to enhanced anthropogenic effects and global warming. In both freshwater and marine systems, fluxes of oxygen, nutrients, and other chemical species are known to be strongly controlled not only by concentration but also by turbulence such as internal waves; however, hydrodynamics can be highly variable and effects on biogeochemical cycling and corresponding water quality are not currently understood. Based on in-situ microprofiler and aquatic eddy correlation measurements, results will be presented from three process studies focusing on (1) the effects of internal waves (e.g., seiches), (2) bioturbation, and (3) engineered hypolimnetic oxygenation / aeration on sediment-water fluxes of oxygen and manganese in lakes and reservoirs. These studies will be used to highlight the physical and chemical processes controlling biogeochemical cycling and related water quality in aquatic systems.

Contact: Please email Shan Bradley-Cong if you need any further information.


Predicting future change in water flows and quality in urbanising catchments

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📥  Other

We are very happy to be able to invite Dr Michael Hutchins from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) to host the first Department of Architecture & Civil Engineering (ACE) Seminar and WIRC Colloquium on Thursday 17th November 2016. Mike will discuss "Predicting future change in water flows and quality in urbanising catchments".

Mike is a Senior Water Quality Modeller at Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Wallingford). His research has focused mainly on two areas, diffuse pollution and in-river processes, and understanding their effects in large river basins. He studies phytoplankton and dissolved oxygen dynamics using river quality models. The majority of his research is focused towards providing support to policies implementing legislation under the Water Framework Directive. More recently he has been leading a NERC Changing Water Cycle project “Changes in urbanisation and its effects on water quantity and quality from local to regional scale” (POLL-CURB).

Despite substantial improvements in the recent past brought about by investment in treatment of sewage and industrial wastes, and various incentives and regulations to reduce diffuse pollution, water resources in the UK are facing considerable future pressures. For example, previous modelling work in the River Thames suggests incidence of “undesirable” water quality will become more frequent in the future. Furthermore, these predictions were made without considering the impact of population growth. Here, we present a combination of approaches to evaluate impacts of urbanisation on water resources in the 9948 km2 Thames basin. Empirical analysis of two years of monitoring data in intensely monitored sub-catchments reveal the degree to which spatial variability of hydrological and water quality response can be explained by indices of impervious area. Statistical detection and attribution techniques are used to assess long-term river data, and these highlight strong signals of urban growth after climate variability is accounted for. High-resolution continuous monitoring puts the extreme periods of storm conditions in winter 2013-14 in the context of annual cycles of water quality. We illustrate how the high-resolution monitoring programme is used to simulate river hydrochemistry, and in particular to indicate how far downstream of urban areas the influence of those areas persist. At the basin scale, analysis of satellite imagery reveals landuse changes since the mid-1980s, signals used to train cellular automata models which then are employed for predictive purposes under different scenarios of urban development. We show how parametrically-parsimonious models of hydrology, sediment delivery and water quality are driven by the future landuse data to refine the existing predictions of future change in water resources across the whole Thames basin.

For more information, please contact Dr Danielle Wain.


Assessing the element of surprise of record-breaking flood events

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WIRC @ Bath

This March sees the next talk in the monthly 'Water Colloquium' series organised by WIRC @ Bath exploring the breadth of water research being undertaken at the University of Bath.

Title: Assessing the element of surprise of record-breaking flood events

Speaker: Dr Thomas Kjeldsen


When: Tuesday 8th March 2016 at 5.15pm

Where: Room 3.15, Chancellors' Building, University of Bath (Location and maps)

Abstract: The occurrence of record-breaking flood events continuous to cause damage and disruption despite significant investments in flood defences, suggesting that these events are in some sense surprising.  This study develops a new statistical test to help assess if a flood event can be considered surprising or not.  The test statistic is derived from annual maximum series (AMS) of extreme events, and Monte Carlo simulations were used to derive critical values for a range of significance levels based on a Generalized Logistic distribution.  The method is tested on a national dataset of past events from the United Kingdom, and is found to correctly identify recent large event that have been identified elsewhere as causing a significant change in UK flood management policy.  No temporal trend in the frequency or magnitude of surprising events was identified, and no link could be established between the occurrences of surprising events and large-scale drivers.

Contact: Please email Sarah Eliot if you need any further information.


Project planning in Stellenbosch

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📥  Water, Environment and Infrastructure Resilience, WISE CDT

Dr Lee Bryant, member of the Architecture and Civil Engineering Water, Environment and Infrastructure Research (WEIR) and WIRC @ Bath groups, visited the University of Stellenbosch Water Institute (near Cape Town, South Africa) on October 29 through November 4, 2015. This visit was funded by a Bath International Mobility Grant. Her visit coincided with a visit by the Director of WIRC @ Bath, Professor Jan Hofman. During this visit, Lee met with Professor Gideon Wolfaardt, the Director of the Stellenbosch Water Institute, to discuss and plan a project based on manganese (Mn) biofilm problems occurring within irrigation piping networks stemming from the Blyderivierpoort reservoir in the agriculturally driven Limpopo province, located in northern South Africa.

Blyderivierpoort Resevoir

The Blyderivierpoort reservoir has high levels of manganese (Mn) due to local geology. Consequently, Mn biofilms within irrigation pipelines are causing massive problems for farmers downstream.