Love the Lea – Community Modelling

Communities to shape water quality solutions

Thames21 has begun a new initiative which aims to involve local communities in setting out future plans for their rivers. Using community modelling, Thames21 aims to encourage local people to play an integral role in the future of rivers in East London.

Community modelling has been successfully used on flood prevention projects such as Slow the flow Calderdale and another project in Otley, Leeds.

Now, the system is to be used by Thames21 to tackle water quality issues, which are a major concern in East London where there are high levels of pollutants which, in the past, have caused major fish kills. The sources of pollution include misconnected plumbing and urban run off.

The Thames21 process of community modelling will use a computer software model called INCA, which was conceived at Reading University and is now being continuously developed at Oxford University.

This project will teach volunteers from the community how to assess the problems caused by pollution and, using the model, create and test solutions to solve the issues and improve the water quality, by suggesting solutions such as wetlands.

This project is funded by the Thames River Trust’s Thames Restoration Fund, Waltham Forest, Greater London Authority (GLA) and the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA).

Thames21 will be working with communities in the River Lea catchment, specifically Pymmes Brook, Salmons Brook and Ching Brook. The project aims to create three groups of between 8-10 people from all walks of life to develop solutions to improve water quality in the catchment.

Between September 2017 and February 2018, the groups will meet and learn how to use INCA before working together to develop a plan for the future management of the three catchments.

Thames21 is looking for people to volunteer to learn how to use INCA and help to inspire a sustainable future for London’s rivers. No prior experience is necessary – just a willingness to learn new skills, develop basic computer knowledge and help improve London’s rivers.
To express your interest, email Rosie Nelson or telephone 07826 913261.