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					Water Futures for Sustainable Cities
Theme 2:
Urban river corridors:                                                                            Project leaders
                                                                                          Professor Nick Clifford
multi-disciplinary performance assessment                                               Professor Angela Gurnell
for sustainability of restored river reaches
Summary
The project focuses on existing urban stream corridors and stream sections which exhibit varying degrees
of engineering intervention and ‘restoration’ management. Using a rapid reconnaissance method of
classification as a starting point, sites in London and Birmingham will be subjected to multi-parameter
and multi-disciplinary assessment focused on: the degree and type of engineering intervention; the
presence and character of sediments and geomorphology; the multiple roles of vegetation; and provision
of physical habitat. Representative sites from this assessment will then subject to field survey and
                                                    instrumentation, to validate the science-base for the
                                                    typology and hence help ensure transferability to other
                                                    sites. The overall aim is to extend existing typologies
                                                    to incorporate all significant aspects of urban stream
                                                    function bearing on future sustainability (i.e. conveyance
                                                    performance; hydrological connectivity; sediment and
                                                    water quality; geomorphology and physical habitat).
                                                    The result will provide a transferable tool and scenario
                                                    modelling ability for urban river management and
                                                    future design under conditions of altered urban land use
                                                    and hydro-climatic regime. The novelty of the proposal
                                                    lies: in the use of existing managed and restored urban
                                                    river reaches of various types and age since project
                                                    completion as a reference data set; in the combination
                                                    of engineering, geomorphological, hydrological and
ecological expertise; and in the extension of hydraulic and hydrological modelling to conditions of varied
channel character, including groundwater-surface water interactions.

Project aims and objectives
    To refine an existing rapid reconnaissance urban stream classification methodology to incorporate
    multi-parameter performance attributes relevant to sustainability assessment and future improved
    sustainable design based upon ‘functional value’ of river reaches.
    To assess conveyance under possible conditions of changed hydrology and climatic change scenarios
    (greater variability; altered peak flows; and time to peak) for each of the urban stream ‘types’ as
    above, with particular emphasis on corridor and channel morphology and in-channel and riparian
    vegetation.
    To improve modelling of multi-stage flow characteristics in conditions of varied morphology
    and vegetation, and to relate these characteristics to actual and potential physical habitat,
    geomorphological character and sediment stability/sediment quality, including possible reconnection
    with adjacent, remnant floodplain.
    To relate surface water stream-flow characteristics to stream corridor groundwater characteristics at
    various stages and under varying hydrological/weather conditions, and hence
     (a) to assess likely influences on stream and corridor water quality and conditions in the hyporrheic
         zone and
     (b) performance of possible channel-remnant floodplain reconnection as above.                                                     08
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Water Futures for Sustainable Cities is a Universitas 21 project.
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Further details can be found at www.universitas21.com/water.html                                                              UNIVER

				
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posted:3/4/2010
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