7th International Conference on River Basin Management including all aspects of Hydrology, Ecology, Environmental Management, Flood Plains and Wetlands22 - 24 May 2013
New Forest, UK
The 7th International Conference on River Basin Management took place in the New Forest, home of the Wessex Institute of Technology (WIT) in the UK. The Meeting was organised by the Institute and sponsored by WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment and the International Journal of Sustainable Development and Planning.
The Conference has been successfully reconvened every two years since the first meeting in Cardiff, UK in 2001, followed by one in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria (2003); another in Bologna (2005); the fourth in Kos (2007); the fifth in Malta (2009); and the sixth in Riverside (2011). The papers corresponding to all the conferences have been archived in digital form at http://library.witpress.com/, where they are permanently available to the international community.
The Conference deals with all aspects of hydrology, ecology, environmental management, flood plains and other topics related to river basins. Riverine systems are under increasing pressure due to man-made and natural causes. Prominent among the problems affecting them is water scarcity and quality, which requires the development of improved surveying and measuring techniques for better river management.
Catastrophic events such as floods and associated landslides, erosion and sedimentation can have serious effects not only on life and property but also on the basin ecology. Frequently these problems are aggravated by the unforeseen consequences of man-made changes in the river basin.
Changes in the landscape, use of the land and climate conditions lead to a continuous revaluation of river basin management objectives. This requires the development of better measuring tools, as well as the use of increasingly accurate computer software.
The objective of this series of conferences is to bring together practitioners and researchers in academia and industry in the hope that the interaction will foster mutual understanding and lead to better solutions for river basins.
The Conference was opened by Prof Carlos A Brebbia, Chairman of the Meeting and Director of the Wessex Institute of Technology, who referred to the principal aim of the Institute, ie the dissemination of knowledge at an international level.
Carlos explained WIT’s mechanisms for achieving the above objective are the organisation of international courses and conferences in many different locations around the world, carrying out research with other partners, publishing books and journals and providing advice, consulting and research services to industry.
WIT Press, the publishing arm of the Institute, aims to publish 70 books per year, 25 of them international conferences, while the rest are on advanced topics. In addition it edits a series of international journals. All of this material is widely distributed around the world in digital as well as paper format. The actual tendency to distribute scientific literature in digital form will further the aims of WIT, providing wider dissemination to the material, including papers presented at conferences such as River Basin Management.
Carlos referred to the importance to WIT of increasing its international network through research projects, advanced training, and publications. He invited the delegates to collaborate with the Institute and hoped that they will be better able to appreciate the work at WIT during the visit to the Campus to take place during the second day of the Conference.
He concluded by thanking the delegates for coming to the Conference, wishing them a very successful meeting and hoping that this would lead to a better understanding of WIT’s work, opening up the possibility of collaboration.
The papers presented at the Meeting were grouped under a series of topics as follows:
- Hydrological modelling
- Flood risk management
- Water resources management
- Erosion and sediment transport
- River restoration and rehabilitation
- Changing climate
- Water quality
A special session was organised by Prof Ronald D Townsend from the University of Ottawa, Canada, consisting of the following presentations:
- “Influence of submerged groynes for urban creek rehabilitation on aquatic environment at Sawmill Creek in Ottawa, Canada”
- “River bank erosion risk potential with regards to soil erodibility”
There were a number of invited presentations by well known colleagues, ie:
“On the coupling of water cycle components” by Juan Martinez-Najera, Federal Electricity Commission, Mexico
“Sustainable solutions for cost effective rainwater harvesting in Nepal: pilot project STORAGE realised in Kathmandu valley, Patan” by Zuzana Boukalova, Vodni Zdroje, Czech Republic
“Precipitation thresholds for drought recognition: a further use of the standardized precipitation index, SPI” by Maria Manuela Portela, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Portugal
“Comparison of precipitation trends in Libya and Slovakia” by Martina Zelenakova, Technical University of Kosice, Slovakia
“Facing global water problems: the legacy of Yu the Great” by Wim Ravesteijn, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
“Sediment and nutrient behaviour on the River Bandon, Ireland” by Joseph R Harrington, Cork Institute of Technology, Ireland
“Comparison of clear water flow and sediment flow through bottom racks using some lab measurements and CFD methodology” by Luis Castillo, Technical University of Cartagena, Spain
ExcursionThe delegates were taken on a lunch time excursion to Lymington, an old town with a picturesque port area, now a marina. Lymington was an important site for the manufacturing of salt from sea water until the prices became uncompetitive when salt mines were discovered elsewhere. It was also known as a town of smugglers and outlaws during periods when the import duties for French goods were high. The town was associated with Civil War skirmishes during the time of Cromwell. Later on it was to be a garrison town for some French Royalist troops that had to leave the country due to the Revolution.
Lymington is now a vibrant and prosperous town, with many of the residents keen sailors and a large number of picturesque old houses.
Conference Dinner and BBQThe Conference banquet took place at Rhinefield House, now a fine hotel in the midst of the Forest. Rhinefield was a manor house built by a well-off family from Nottingham as a present on the occasion of the marriage of their daughter to a Navy officer. The style of the house resembles a Scottish castle albeit it is only 100 years old. Inside a series of main rooms are furnished in different styles, ranging from Italian and French to Arabic rooms. The delegates had dinner in The Great Hall, an impressive room with oak wall panelling and a roof built in the hammer beam style made famous by the ancient Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament.
Following the death of the original owners, the house fell into disrepair, from time to time being used for functions, training and other similar activities. It was eventually turned into a hotel and is now well established and renowned for the excellence of the service and its cuisine.
The main course consisted of lamb, a speciality of Hampshire at this time of the year, accompanied by good wines and taken in a friendly environment.
At the end of the meal, Carlos thanked the delegates for coming to the New Forest conferences and talked about the history of Rhinefield House as well as Ashurst Lodge, home of the Wessex Institute of Technology. He concluded by saying how rewarding he always finds it to welcome delegates from so many different countries at the WIT conferences. We were fortunate to benefit from such a wide variety of cultural diversity as well as scientific excellence.There was a lunch BBQ arranged in the grounds of Wessex Institute at the end of the Conference so that the delegates could appreciate better the work of the Institute and have another occasion to interact and learn from each other in a relaxed atmosphere. The BBQ consisted of lamb accompanied by vegetables, salads, desserts and fruits. The quality of Hampshire lamb is well known and they were in season for the conference.
Delegates were also offered the possibility of having a look around the Institute main building, and in particular Carlos’ office, where he explained the history behind some of the many souvenirs that he has collected around the world.
The meeting was most successful and will help the delegates to strengthen their links with WIT.
Papers from the conference will also be hosted online at the WIT eLibrary as Volume 172 of WIT Transactions on the Ecology and the Environment (ISSN: 1746-448X, Digital ISSN 1743-3541). For more details visit the WIT eLibrary at http://library.witpress.com