River Otter

Haycock Environmental Consultants Limited

Independent Hydrologist and  Waterscape Consultants

Hydrology and computer science

The standard reference manual for UK hydrologists is the flood estimation handbook. It goes without saying that access and use of this software system plays a critical role in determining flows and floods in many large river situations.

The role of the modern hydrologist is applying their skills in a range of situations, many not covered by the standard methods and requiring additional skills to examine the dynamics of water.

Hydrology of small catchments

Hydrology of flooding

The assessment of small catchments and their runoff, especially in response to extreme rainfall events often requires something more than a simple calculation. Developing rainfall runoff models, that classify the catchments detailed topography using LiDAR data and combine it with measurements of the catchments soil properties, often leads to a more detailed understanding of the dynamics of runoff and flooding. The images below are from the Boscastle project (2004-2008) and enabled the restoration measures for the village to be designed to cope with extreme flood volumes and velocities. The type of distributive hydrological modelling uses Rivertools (4.0) and Topoflow (1.4) software to examine the detailed dynamics of runoff and flood propogation.

Hydrologists are involved in not only determining the volume and rate of runoff but also the way that the water moves through the landscape. We have been involved with the modelling of flooding in some unique environments, from the Lake District to the celebrated Jurassic coastal rivers of Devon.

The movement of floodwater in complicated floodplains, with road, rail, embankments, culverts and numerous other obstacles, affects the depth and flood velocity of water. Since 2004, we have worked with Bristol University on LisFlood and it's application in complex floodplains. With University of California, we have developed LisFlood into a multi-CPU platform using MPI technology. This means flood models can be generated quickly and allow multiple scenarios to be developed.

The modelling of the River Otter in 2009-2013 allowed complicated sequences to flooding to be mapped and solutions to reduce flood risk developed with the Clinton Devon Estate.

River Otter
River Otter
River Otter

Boscastle: River Valency Flood Model (2004-2008) using LiDAR.

River Otter, Devon: Sequence of flooding of the lower floodplain (click to see animation)

Ouse Fen, ithink

Hydrology of lakes and wetlands linked with their water quality

The movement of water into lakes and wetlands, the change in water levels and the resultant effects of the flows on the quality of these environments has been a special interest to Dr Haycock. Combining hydrology, hydraulics and water quality issues requires a special set of modelling tools.

Since 1991, we have used ithink (stella) system modelling, a tool that allows unique models to be constructed using the principles of quantitative ecology. We used this system to develop waste water wetland models, then hydro-chemical models of a series of lakes in a chain. The software has allowed us to explore options for the creation of a 500 hectare wetland reserve for the RSPB (Ouse Fen, Needingworth). It has been applied to the restoration of Brownian Lake complexes (Croome Landscape Park, Wrest Park) and enabled water balancing models to be developed to review restoration options for these water features. In recent years, we have used this system to model the hydro-chemical restoration of the Serpentine (Hyde Park) for the London Olympics (2012) and restoration options for Hampstead Heath (2006-2012). When faced with a complex hydrological and water quality issue, the skills to build these models result in a deeper understanding of the issues and other savings for the client in terms of reduced engineering or maintainance costs.

In 2014, we have worked on tertiary wetland models using the PkC* method developed by Kadlec and Wallance (2009, Treatment Wetlands). By moving the PkC* concepts into a dynamic modelling platform, the sensitivity of the design can be reviewed and refines made to the resulting treatment wetland. Modelling of BOD, and total-N reduction to meet new waste water standards is critically when operating next to designated sites (e.g., SSSI, SAC, SPA's).

System model for Ouse RSPB reserve used to review hydration risks to the wetland

Hydrology of water features

The modelling of flow within or over an object is not a technical skill that is often required. Since 2004, associates of the company have worked on a variety of computer fluid dynamic models to solve complex problems. Whether this relates to the flow dynamics around the proposed bridge at Boscaslte, the dynamics of a hydraulic brake chamber for the Yazor Brook (River Wye, Hereford) or the predicted flow over a long lost 1730's cascade at Bramham Park, fluid dynamic models come to our aid and enable engineering and restoration options to be explored. Reconstructing flow behaviour on archeological features has enabled restoration options to be explored prior to expensive stone cutting occuring.

Yazor Brook
Bramham Park
Bramham Park

CFD model of Bramham Park Parterre Cascade (M Haycock, click to see animation).

Photo lidar of Bramham Park Parterre Cascade (M Haycock, click to see animation).

CFD model of Yazor Brook Hydraulic Brake (M Haycock, click to see animation)


The Granary, Dunstall Court,

Astwood Lane,


B96 6QH

M: 07525 648390

E: nick_haycock@hec-ltd.co.uk

Registered in England No. 07464727.

Haycock Environmental Consultants Limited (HEC) is a specialist hydrology, hydro-ecology and hydro-chemistry group dedicated to the restoration and creation of waterscapes.

HEC key products:

Flood Risk Assessments

Reservoir Hydrology Reports

HLS Parkland Plans (hydrology)

Restoration Habitat Assessments

Lake Management Plans (inc. Nutrients)

Water Management Statements