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Contaminants in UK water systems to be addressed by new research

Ian GuymerThe management of water quality in rivers, urban drainage and water supply networks is essential for ecological and human well-being. A major Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grant will fund important research to facilitate improvements in environmental quality and human health, by providing the basis for new tools to design and create infrastructure. Professor Ian Guymer, who is based at the University of Warwick’s School of Engineering, has been awarded an Established Career Fellowship to conduct a five year project that will create a step change in the representation of mixing processes for water by modelling mixing mechanisms in water network models.

In the majority of water networks, the standard 1D model predictions fall short because of knowledge gaps due to low turbulence, 3D shapes and unsteady flows. This prestigious Fellowship will work to address the knowledge gaps, delivering a step change in the predictive capability of 1D water quality network models.

The research has attracted broad support from environmental regulators, engineering consultants and water utilities.

Speaking about the award, Professor Nigel Stocks, Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick said:

“In times of increased stress on the water environment, improved water quality modelling tools will clearly have a broad range of industrial applications and high profile academic outputs.

Professor Guymer is an internationally recognised expert on the mixing and transport of pollutants in water, from drinking water supplies, right through to coastal environment and he has an outstanding record of research leadership and innovation.”

The Environment Agency’s Deputy Director, Paul Hickey, further noted:

“The development of models of sewerage networks that have greater confidence associated with their mixing processes will provide the Environment Agency and those who we work with and regulate, better certainty in determining priorities and in securing measures to improve and protect our water environment.”

Improved knowledge, application and impact from this proposal will contribute to the UK establishing itself as an innovation powerhouse in the global water technology sector, which a 2014 UK Water Research and Innovation Partnership report estimated to be worth over $50 billion in the six-year period to 2020.

The first phase of the research programme will include a symposium in January 2018 including over 14 national and international speakers. To register your interest in attending the event please contact Stephanie Whitehead at s.whitehead@warwick.ac.uk.