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Water Engineering

Water Engineering  Water cloud V2

The Challenges

More frequent storms, increased development and improved environmental legislation all necessitate an enhanced understanding of mixing and transport in urban drainage systems. A number of projects are assessing how urban drainage structures (manholes, storage tanks, combined sewer overflows, ponds and wetlands) influence these processes. Warwick Water undertakes research into aspects of water engineering, the environment and sustainability. The group focuses on identifying and quantifying the fate of soluble pollutants and contaminated fine sediments within rivers, urban drainage systems and the coastal environment.

Our Research

Recent projects include work on the accumulation and dispersal of suspended solids in watercourses. Vehicles and highway maintenance activities produce a number of environmental contaminants which can enter watercourses during rainfall events. Field monitoring has quantified this load and investigated the effects of highway derived contaminants over a number of years at field sites across the UK. Results have been linked directly to the impact on receiving water ecology. Laboratory and field-based studies have been performed to elucidate hyporheic exchanges and transient storage in rivers.

Projects have been conducted in both the nearshore and estuarine environments. The nearshore zone experiences pollutant loading through both the shoreline and seaward boundaries. From the seaward boundary, pollutant loading is transported landward towards surfzone wave activity, whilst from the shoreline boundary, run-off pollution, which can contain faecal indicator bacteria and human viruses, can drain into the surfzone. The effects of wave period, height, direction and spectrum are all important.

The long term aim of the research is to improve the knowledge of fundamental mixing processes, quantify their relative magnitude and enhance the predictive capacity of models describing the transport, mixing and fate of pollutants and fine sediments within the water environment.

Current and past projects

  • Narcissus: Investigation into the effects of a range of potential biocides in hot water treatments with Rob Lillywhite, John Clarkson, Rosemary Collier, Funded by: AHDB (Formerly HDC), Project Start Date 01-01-2016 - Project End Date 30-06-2019
  • Evaluating the potential of constructed wetland features for mitigating the impact of pesticide losses from agricultural land: Industrial funding connected with Defra Project with Gary Bending, Funded by: Lonza Group Ltd, Project Start Date 01-10-2013 - Project End Date 30-09-2016
  • Hydraulic residence times in vegetated stormwater ponds Funded by: EPSRC, Project Start Date 01-06-2013 - Project End Date 31-05-2016
  • Evaluating the potential of constructed wetland features for mitigating the impact of pesticide losses from agricultural land Funded by: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Project Start Date 01-04-2012 - Project End Date 31-03-2015
  • Interactions between river bed morphology, water chemistry and microbial diversity and its impact on pollutant biodegradation with Gary Bending, Jonathan Pearson, Funded by: Unilever Research (Colworth Laboratory), Project Start Date 01-10-2010 - Project End Date 30-09-2014
  • Determine the Flow Exchange Characteristics Between Bolt Pockets and Main Tunnel Flow Funded by: Underground Professional Services Limited, Project Start Date 18-11-2008 - Project End Date 17-01-2009
The Water Engineering group is part of the Civil and Environmental Stream
Academic Staff

Dr Jonathan Pearson

Dr Soroush Abolfathi

Further information


Facilities and research

Development Technology Unit