Thursday, 11 September 2014

MSc Project Report

Many of you will not be aware of the huge amount of work that has been done to get control of the water levels in the quarry pits. We started this year with all the lakes at very high levels and narrowly avoided the collapse of the bund in Pumphouse Pit due to waves sloshing over the top.

Our objective is to have as many small islands exposed as possible without having the water so low that foxes have access to breeding birds. To achieve this we have always used the electric pumps that belong to Aggregate Industries,though we have realised for a long time that drainage by gravity was the best option, but it meant that we had to dig some enormous drainage ditches to take the water off site to the river.

We just managed to get the water down in spring so that terns and gulls could nest on Pummphouse Pit East, but we have continued to take water out so that we can start the winter with the water as low as we can get it, in anticipation of rain later.

In order to validate our work and make sure it would actually achieve what we want, the Friends tried to employ a consultant hydrologist. Unfortunately this was not possible so we got free advice from the Environment Agency and then employed an MSc Student from Cranfield Univerity.

Arturo Lopez Exposito took us on for his final thesis project and he did a splendid job, spending many hours in the field collecting data before using computer models to predict the behaviour of our drainage scheme under various rainfall conditions, river levels etc.
Yesterday, Ray Matthews, David Butterworth, David Cobham and I went a long to Cranfield to see Arturo's exhibition along with those of all his colleagues.

Arturo stood alongside his poster and gave us almost an hour of detailed commentary. The good news is that our scheme will work except that one pipe will have to be replaced with a wider one to cover flooding events from Diddington Brook.

We are very grateful to the University and to Tim Hess who supervised the project. I should also thank Ray Matthews for all the work he put in to guide and support Arturo. We are so pleased that we plan to place another student here next year. Meanwhile, Arturo is going home to Spain in search of a job. We wish him lots of luck.
If you enlarge this picture, you will be able to read the text.