The Bristol Branch of the Geographical Association were extremely pleased to host Dr. Gemma Coxon (University of Bristol), who presented a talk aimed at local sixth-formers on the challenges associated with modelling future water supply in the UK. Given the amount of rain we have seen in the west country over the course of the last few months, one might think “Is this a problem for us?”. Gemma provided convincing evidence that we should be concerned and, for good reason, the water supply industry (and users) recognise that they need to become more resilient to droughts.
Gemma is a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, which is a prestigious position that brings with it a significant tranche of funds to support valuable research. She is currently assembling a team of hydrologists at Bristol, with plans for collaboration, nationally and internationally, to assist in the modelling of UK future water supply. Droughts are a key focus, and we were presented with plenty of ‘past surprises’ or dry extremes in water supply. Droughts are caused by a range of factors or drivers. We see different types of droughts: meteorological, hydrological, agricultural and more. Climate, geology, duration, land use and much more play a part, and we are seeing significant changes in some of these as the planet warms.
An audience of over 60 were present, with representatives from many local schools. Whilst Gemma provided the top billing, we also saw brief talks on the Bristol GA and its history by Prof. David Richards (including mention of Sheila Jones, a former Bristol GA President and local teacher and student) and “Studying Geography at University” by Dr. Harry West (UWE).
Our thanks to Gemma, and here’s looking forward to seeing many at the upcoming lectures.