‘Know Your Catchment’ Campaign Launch

Posted: Friday 7th August 2015

To coincide with the start of the public consultation on the Oxford Flood Alleviation scheme, the Evenlode Catchment Partnership (ECP) is launching its educational ‘Know Your Catchment’ campaign. As a first step in our campaign we have teamed up with Van Walt Ltd, providers of hydrometric monitoring equipment, to establish a new automatic water level logging station on the River Evenlode.

The intention is to have a ‘live’ feed from this location so anyone in the World can access current information on water levels in the River Evenlode. Ultimately this will be linked to a website that enables schools and the local community to access information on their local water environment.

This project will demonstrate how technology used to measure what is happening in the landscape around us can also inspire the next generation of environmental scientists. Using flooding as a starting point and the wonderful Combe Mill as a location the ECP aims to link environmental studies to other STEM activities based around the historic site. Partnering with Van Walt to enable data gathering at Combe is also an example of how businesses, scientists, community groups and the charity sector can work together to create multiple outputs from one project area. For example, as discussions on the flood alleviation scheme in Oxford start in earnest, we are helping to further develop the Oxford Flood Network and contribute to Environment Agency monitoring by enabling people to access data demonstrating clear hydrological links between the River Thames / Isis and its tributaries. It may be surprising for some to discover that the water flowing through Oxford during flooding has taken a number of days to reach the city.

A ‘catchment’ (as in ‘Evenlode Catchment Partnership’) is the land area that influences water flows into a river. Both the quality and quantity of water in our rivers is influenced by the way in which the land in a catchment is used. We hope that establishing a monitoring station with publically accessible data, in a location some distance upstream of the city of Oxford, will start a debate about how we might start to think differently about the management of our catchments. Land management regimes have profound influences on water quality and flow, in times of drought as well as flood, and to help us deal with effects of processes such as climate change we need to be working with natural processes where we can.

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