Winchester Flood Alleviation Scheme: Sparsholt students in full flow

December 18, 2020

RSK Biocensus has been appointed by Hampshire County Council and Winchester City Council to provide aquatic mitigation works in support of the Winchester Flood Alleviation Scheme.

Winchester, in Hampshire, UK, is prone to flooding. This is predominantly groundwater flooding, which occurs after prolonged rainfall to the River Itchen catchment. The groundwater then feeds into the River Itchen and some of its tributaries which then runs through the city of Winchester. When the river and streams become overwhelmed from groundwater Winchester receives unmanageable amounts of water.

Following the latest flooding in 2014, phase 1 of the Winchester Flood Alleviation Scheme was implemented in the Summer of 2016. The flood defences consist of flood defences walls, demountable flood barriers, timber sleeper walls, sluice gates and flood defence bunds.

Winchester City Council, The Environment Agency and Hampshire County are now delivering the second phase of the Winchester Flood Alleviation Scheme, which began in June 2020. Phase 1 and Phase 2 will work together to form a continuous flood defence barrier north of the city. This barrier will hold water back to enable the Winchester City Council Drainage team to manage and optimise flow through the city using the existing and proposed sluice gates.

As part of the works, RSK Biocensus recently teamed up with student volunteers from Sparsholt College Hampshire to undertake an aquatic ecology electric fish baseline study.

“The partnership represents a great opportunity for students to gain some valuable work experience,” comments Principal Aquatic Consultant Matthew Davison. “It will ultimately become part of their academic studies through routine monitoring/management works. It was great to have extra hands on deck and to be able to share our knowledge and work practices with the next generation of aquatic ecologists. We hope to build on this relationship in the future as the project progresses.”

The £1.6m scheme is funded by Winchester City Council with £548k provided by the Environment Agency, part of a six-year programme worth £2.6bn to protect 300,000 homes across England.