University helps spruce up the River Don

Posted: Monday 27th April 2009

The University of Sheffield will host a series of public events next month (May 2009) exploring the social and economic value of water. The Catchment Science Awareness Month will focus on the redevelopment of the River Don urban river corridor, with the aim of making it ecologically and economically better for people in Sheffield.

This event, organised by the Catchment Science Centre at the University, will run throughout May and include a series of talks, lectures and interactive workshops looking at catchment science and how we can improve our river corridors to benefit the residents of that area.

In the past, urban river corridors were areas of industrial development. They suffered extensive pollution and physical modification, with little aesthetic or ecological value. More recently, as a result of declining heavy industry and greener technology, many of our rivers have become cleaner, enhancing their value to society.

Catchment science is a new way of looking at how we can best regenerate these areas to maximise their potential and create social, economic and environmental benefits. The Catchment Science Centre, which was jointly created by the University of Sheffield and the Environment Agency, has been established to look into rivers in their entirety, by examining the whole basin, or catchment area, which is where the rivers get their water from.

As part of the awareness month, members of the public are invited to join the team as they help spruce up the River Don. In conjunction with the Fiver Weirs Walk Trust, the University is encouraging local residents to join them on Tuesday 26 May 2009 to tidy up an area of the river with the aim of making it available to the public and creating a cleaner more accessible environment. The Five Weirs Walk Trust Ltd is a registered charity which has worked over the last 13 years to regenerate substantial areas of the River Don, to enable public access to this part of Sheffield.

The British Hydrological Society national meeting will also be held as part of the month on Wednesday 6 May 2009. A series of guest speakers will talk at this event, including Ian Barker, the Environment Agency’s Head of Water Resources, and the Geological Society of America’s Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer, Professor Chunmiao Zheng. Mr Barker will look at how best we can manage water resources today, whilst Professor Zheng will address the current water situation in China and discuss options available to deal with water shortage problems.

David Lerner, Co-Director of the Catchment Science Centre, said: “The River Don runs through the heart of the city of Sheffield, and our research is intended to help the city and its citizens to make the best of this environmental asset. Catchment Science is an innovative way of looking at how we can regenerate these areas, and we hope many people will come and discover more about our work during the awareness month. "

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