Project Details


Developing from the AquaManche project, the RiskManche project, supported by the ERDF Interreg IVA programme, aimed to develop practical environmental risk assessment and management tools for the control of water-related disease in the France (Channel) England cross-border region.

The project had the ambitious target of testing the most effective tools developed during the AquaManche project on a larger scale in order to develop practical environmental risk assessment and management tools for the control of water-related disease in the region. The former AquaManche partners integrated their expertise within a broader coalition of universities, research institutes, environmental protection organizations and commercial water companies in the region.

The coalition of universities, research institutes, environmental protection organisations and commercial water companies provided a cross-disciplinary approach to protecting the regional aquatic environment. The intention was to develop and embed recent research discoveries into day-to-day environmental protection activities of the Region. RiskManche provided an important vehicle for a cross-border and importantly, cross-disciplinary approach to protecting the regional aquatic environment.

RiskManche took a pioneering approach to exploring better ways of sharing ‘expert’ and ‘non-expert’ knowledge of recreational waters and shellfisheries environments, through the delivery of an innovative ‘risk perception’ action. It provided an important vehicle for cross-border, and importantly, cross-disciplinary approaches to the protection of the aquatic environment in our maritime region by:

> Developing a better understanding of potential human disease transmission associated with specific components of the aquatic environment that have great economic significance in our maritime Region, namely recreational water use, and the consumption of shellfish, so as to reduce the burden of human disease and to support the development of these important components of the regional economy.

> Developing better ways to predict and prevent incidents of water-related disease by integrating microbial source tracking methods with agro-hydrologic and hydrodynamic modelling; and

> Developing innovative approaches to improve knowledge generation and communication between regional stakeholders in our areas of focus, so as to foster more effective, long term solutions to environmental and public health protection measures. This theme includes a specific cross-border investigation into the communication of health risks associated with shellfish consumption.

Key findings

The RiskManche project

> developed a common protocol on catchment modelling and identification of microbial pathogens
> evaluated and predicted risk by carrying out environmental samples and reporting results
> developed new tools to identify and map hazards to human health associated with waterborne and shellfish-borne microbes in the region
> organised public meetings in England and France to support water managers in adapting management to public health and the environment

The project allowed University of Brighton scientists to advance their long term observation of the water quality in the Sussex Ouse. They had been monitoring the water quality over a number of years, trying to distinguish where fecal pollution the river was coming from. As part of the RiskManche work package something more clever was possible, allowing the team to not only monitor the river quality but to predict what might happen to the river and the different weather conditions during climate change and different seasons.

It was necessary to study risk prediction as it allowed scientists to understand the nature of contaminants and how those contaminants might change over time. This enabled them to consider what might happen under future climatic conditions and the future changes in land use within the Sussex river catchments and hence better mitigate against the risks. Prediction of this kind involved the collection of a large set of data both primary and secondary data to determine microbial and physical changes in the catchment but also a huge amount of data concerning the characteristics of that catchment such as climate hydrology.

Said Professor Huw Taylor, "the expertise originally came from France and we at the University of Brighton sent some of our early career researchers over to France to learn these techniques. Now we've brought it back to England, we're developing a model that we can use on our catchment and can transfer the extra knowledge back to France where it can be used by stakeholders."

The soil and water assessment tool proved useful for modelling flow and microbial contaminants in the watershed, allowing scientists and water management agencies to take a much more proactive approach to the management and the protection of human health. In turn, this helped better protect and understand the risks to recreational water users and also to shellfish harvesters.

Importantly, the RiskManche project was not just scientists talking to scientists. The project helped transfer the very best knowledge from both sides of the channel for the benefit of everybody in the region.
Effective start/end date1/01/1231/12/15


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