While Dr Crockford shared her teaching insight into water saving in yesterday’s blog, today Jordan Rushton, BSc (Hons) Geography and Environmental Management, shares how he is pursuing his own research in the field.
Jordan’s initial interest in water sustainability was peaked through his work experience opportunity in his third year. He said: “During my placement I worked for Wessex Water in Dorset as part of the Catchment Management team. As a team, we would work to implement environmentally friendly methods of influencing raw water quality by managing land use on a catchment scale. This helps to build stakeholder trust, reduce flood risk and increase resilience.
“Because of this experience, I developed my passion for catchment management and the opportunities it provides for both water quality and agricultural businesses through mutual cooperation. Along with this, the sampling skills and trials experience I gained on placement have been invaluable skills for further research.”
From this experience, Jordan’s work inspired his dissertation study. He commented: “My Honours Research Project (HRP) is focusing on the use of natural flood management technology in a river catchment in the Severn Gorge’s area.
“I am looking at the multi benefits that this technology possesses to not only manage the ever growing risk of flooding, but also deliver water quality benefits to improve water quality in the UK. As the area is an intensive agricultural catchment, I am looking at the reductions this technology can potentially make to common agricultural contaminants such as Nitrates and Phosphates.
“I hope this study will provide evidence in an area which has not been greatly investigated to increase the number of businesses and authorities adapting these types of technology.”
Due to non-essential travel and social distancing, Jordan has had a few setbacks in his project research. He explained: “Covid-19 had created some barriers; specifically having not been able to gather all the samples I wanted and also limiting access to literature resources.
“However, my supervisor and the university have been extremely responsive in helping facilitate my project. The Library has been working hard to provide us with online access to books and journals we would otherwise not be able to access. My supervisor Lucy Crockford has been brilliant in providing me face to face support through the Microsoft Teams software too.”
Despite this, Jordan is well on his way to completing his dissertation and using the samples he did collect to inform his data.
Jordan is incredibly passionate about his work and seeks to continue within the field once he graduates. He commented: “I aspire to continue to work in the agri-environment sector and catchment management. Natural flood management is a new and quickly progressing area of study, needing individuals to continue research and project delivery to ensure the evidence can prove how successful this approach can be.
“With the changing climate that will continue to present new challenges to everyone, natural flood management has the potential to be a ‘silver bullet’ in not only protecting property and lives but also continuing the UK’s strive for better water quality across the nation.”
For others interested in similar studies around water quality and protection, Jordan offers some words of wisdom: “The best advice I can give is the same advice my tutor gave me when I began studying Geography: ‘A good geographer investigates’. They do not just accept something as true, they look for science and evidence that proves it. Studying at Harper promotes this ethos you are actively encouraged to investigate all concepts and given the skills you need to do so.”
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