Bulk transfers of water between regions of the UK are frequently proposed as a means of increasing water security and reducing drought risk (Preparing for a drier future, National Infrastructure Commission, April 2018). However, raw water transfers, even between adjacent river basins, create the potential to transfer invasive non-native species (INNS) and associated pathogens and parasites. The risk of introduction and spread of INNS via NWG’s raw water transfers will be assessed and the findings used to inform a subsequent options appraisal to determine how to eliminate / reduce this risk.
The North Tyne transfer takes raw water from Barrasford to Hallington Reservoir. The North Tyne has non-native American Signal Crayfish (SC), Pacifastacus leniusculus, and Hallington Reservoir and waterbodies downstream of the reservoir have native White Clawed Crayfish (WCC), Austropotamobius pallipes. As such, this transfer poses a risk of transferring SC into WCC waterbodies, and also poses a risk of transferring the microscopic fungal spores of the crayfish plague known as Aphanomyces astaci.
The investigation requires a research and development project to look at ways of eliminating or mitigating raw water transfer risk. Crayfish are one of many potential INNS that could be passed via water transfers and so the scope should include the risk of transferring other priority INNS. The solution to reduce the risk of transferring INNS should be demonstrated and the effectiveness of the solution monitored.
Fully funded (3.5 years) PhD studentship awards available for entry September 2019. Each award includes fees (Home/EU), an annual living allowance (£14,777) and a Research Training Support Grant (for travel, consumables, as required).