Impact Fellows Drs Donna Carless, Ben Jackson and Mandy Robinson from the University of Exeter’s Centre for Resilience in Environment, Water and Waste (CREWW) will expand on their work supporting the application of a catchment-scale approach to managing water quality. Led by Prof. Richard Brazier, the team will further develop their Upstream Thinking Portal (UST Portal) with enhanced functionality, enabling a wider range of applications within water management.
The project builds on the original partnership with South West Water (SWW) and the Delivery Partners of their Upstream Thinking (UST) programme, including the Cornwall and Devon Wildlife Trusts, Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), Westcountry Rivers Trust, Natural England/Catchment Sensitive Farming and South West Peatland Partnership. The team have the ambition to support stronger data exchange and improve communication channels to ensure that their tool does exactly what is desired by current and new partners. Through working closely with partners, it is hoped this work has the potential to become embedded within the wider water industry.
The primary aim of this project is to further enhance and develop the online tool (the UST Portal) created as part of the first phase of this project.
The UST Portal user interface allows partners to record data and complete simple spatial analysis. The GIS-based tool provides a dynamic way to record and visualise the delivery of catchment management activities that are delivered here in the South West; the aim of which is to improve water quality (and quantity). These measures are delivered through Upstream Thinking and sometimes supported by additional grant schemes such as Countryside Stewardship.
The tool can be used to collate, organise and process data and information on catchment measures (what, when, where); this supports the characterisation and evaluation of change happening due to interventions. As part of this new phase of work, the tool will be developed to aid decision-support, providing partners with information and guidance on where, and what type of catchment interventions could be placed to maximise the benefits to water quality, water quantity and biodiversity.
Benjamin works on the SWEEP 003 (Leak Detection) and 009 (Whole catchment) projects. He is a Physical Geographer, with a background in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), environmental modelling and river catchment management. He has worked on projects relating to flooding in river/wastewater networks, low-flow hydrology, and chemical risk assessment.