Front Line: Dr Mike Jones, Thames Water
In this month's Front Line feature we meet Dr Mike Jones, Water Resources & Process Modelling Lead at Thames Water
-Dr Mike Jones and his team model the ongoing water supply performance of 175 groundwater sources, 22 reservoirs and 100 treatment works for Thames Water
-During drought these assets can deliver around three billion litres per day
-With groundwater sources capable of providing one billion litres per day, managed aquifer recharge is an important strategic supply for London, providing up to 230 million litres per day.
-Dr Mike Jones uses Twitter to raise awareness of groundwater issues. He can be be found tweeting using the following handles: @GroundwaterMike and @UKGWForum.
What’s the main purpose of your job role?
Although groundwater remains my technical expertise, I lead a team of hydrogeologists, water resource and treatment asset modellers. Together, we work to understand the sustainable performance of our abstraction, storage and treatment assets, particularly during drought as well as their response to water quality and future climate challenges. My role also includes directing the identification, testing and assessing the viability of future groundwater supply options.
When did you start working in the water industry and what led you to your current job?
I joined Thames Water as the Groundwater Team Lead in 1999. Previously, I had been a hydrogeologist in consultancy for 10 years, in the UK and internationally, working on water supply, contamination remediation and infrastructure impact assessments.
Describe your typical working day.
Variety! It can include assessing the impact of contaminants and urban development on groundwater, meeting local stakeholders to explain how our groundwater abstractions interact with the environment, as well as supporting the development of new tools to prioritise water treatment investment.
What attributes do you need to do your job well?
Flexibility and adaptability are key to managing a diverse technical team, as well as the ability to communicate effectively with key decision makers, including the Environment Agency, as well as our customers.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Exploring and developing new conventional and innovative groundwater sources, such as managed aquifer recharge, then delivering them into supply. Since I’ve been at Thames Water I’ve delivered or directed all the hydrogeological inputs in the development of our groundwater abstraction capability, increasing that capability by around 180 Ml/d (million litres per day); enough to supply an extra 1 million customers.
And the worst (or most challenging) aspect? Improving people’s understanding of groundwater, which is often out of sight and out of mind, can be a challenge. It’s rewarding when they grasp its crucial role in supporting river flows and water supply, including London’s managed aquifer recharge scheme.
Which other people have shaped your career?
Trevor Price, my school geology teacher, still enthusing at 94 years old; Prof Tim Broyd, ICE President, who first employed me as a hydrogeologist, and Shammy Puri, until recently Secretary General of the International Association of Hydrogeologists, who enabled me to work in places like the desert of Jordan and industrial heartlands of South Korea.
When not at work, my ideal way to unwind is…
Music, armchair rugby and tennis, plus time down the gym to keep fit.
- Procurement overhaul delivers success for Thames The outsourcing of Thames Water's procurement function to management consultancy Efficio has reaped cost savings, says... Read More >
- Centralised sites deliver fracking water efficiency In the US, centralised wastewater treatment is emerging as a viable solution for long- term efficiency in managing water... Read More >
- When it rains it pours... Australia has some salient lessons for the UK in managing climatic extremes, say Monica Infante,director, Isle Utilities... Read More >
- Front Line: Dr Mike Jones, Thames Water In this month's Front Line feature we meet Dr Mike Jones, Water Resources & Process Modelling Lead at Thames Water Read More >
- Project Focus: Optimising the Wessex Grid Optimiser software using a sophisticated closed loop control system has been central to enabling efficient water transfers... Read More >
- Front Line: Morag Angus, Mires Project Manager, South West Water This month WWT meets Morag Angus, who leads a catchment management project for South West Water aimed at restoring... Read More >
- Introducing the WWT thought leadership series The UK's leading water industry media brand is taking a deeper look throughout 2017. Read More >
- Blog: A shared vision for the global water sector In the latest blog from water sector charity WaterAid, Rob Fuller explores the potential for greater international... Read More >
- Market Operations delivery manager What are we looking for?• Innovative, challenging and dynamic leader and team player. • Experience of working in a utility network... Read more here.
- General Manager Asset Management Essential Energy Location: Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia Salary: Competitive Essential Energy is one of Australia’s largest... Read more here.
- Energy Growth Strategy Analyst National Grid’s energy network transports electricity to homes and businesses all over the UK. It’s an essential part of all our lives.... Read more here.