My name is Babalola Sherifdeen Olamilekan,  I am from Nigeria and I am studying an Environmental Water Management MSc. This was as a result of the opportunity bestowed on me by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commissions and Cranfield University by nominating me for this Scholarship.

Cranfield University is a global Centre for research and teaching with world class laboratories and library, reputable scholars, and internationally accepted research findings. An opportunity to study and research under Cranfield University faculty members who are seasoned specialists in scientific and technological applications, I feel will enhance my career as a researcher in the environmental sector in Nigeria. Water and sediment regimes within natural ecosystems are major factors in determining their health and sustainability. Well‐designed and maintained built environments provide additional essential economic and social benefits. Withdrawals of water to meet urban demands, grow more food, and produce more energy all result in less water for the environment and for maintaining ecosystem health. 

Nigeria is faced with numerous challenges in the management of Natural resources and the environment. These challenges include a rising population, climate change, inadequate technical advisory or extension services, inadequate knowledge of the natural resources and ecosystem, poverty, weak agricultural policies and implementation and inconsistency in government policies. These challenges motivated me to aspire towards undertaking postgraduate studies in the chosen field. As disheartening as this sounds, it is also an opportunity for me to act in order to make a significant difference in the lives of the citizens in my country. Any attempt to improve natural resource management must be evidence-based approach to produce lasting results. Therefore, I feel that acquiring a master’s degree in Environmental Water Management will equip me adequately with the required skills to assist in reducing or eliminating these environmental related problems through conducting proper environmental impact assessment and being a consultant to the Government and private organization on improved methods of ensuring optimum conservation of the environment.

On the 1st of October 2019, I started my Cranfield journey by attending the welcome and registration week, where I connected with over 150 international and local students. After the induction week, I knew I had enrolled at one of the best postgraduate universities in the United Kingdom. Cranfield University’s tenacious link with industries all over the country was a chance for me to practically and effectively make an impact.

On the 2nd of October 2019, I celebrated with over 500 students at the welcome party organised by the University at the Sports Hall. Early in the day, we were hosted by the University at the CSA Lounge and treated to a nice lunch. It was indeed a memorable event, as I made new friends and engaged in games and activities planned for the day.

This is my first time of visiting the United Kingdom and I have heard a lot about the embedded quality of education and good standard of living in the country. Hence, my choice to come and study in the United Kingdom. During my short stay in the United Kingdom, I have been opportune to visit a few places, but I am open to more adventures and tours.

An Interesting and Educating Induction Week!

The Induction week was organised by the Water Programme Staff, led by Dr Jitka MacAdam, Water Programme Director and it lasted for the whole week, coupled and combined with different activities. Students from three different courses (MSc Environmental Water Management, MSc Water Sanitation for Development and MSc Water and Wastewater Engineering) make up the Water programme. We all met and connected during this week as it was an educating one. We were all briefed on topics such as what an MSc is in Cranfield University, Water Security, Career in the Water Industry, Academic Conduct, Health and Services in Cranfield among others.

On the 11th of October 2019, Dr Lola Rey Vicario, the Course Director of the Environmental Water Management MSc organised a field trip for the EWM students. She was accompanied by Dr Robert Grabowski from Cranfield University. We visited a local nature reserve called Singlers Marsh, where we were briefed by two scientists from Affinity Water on Sustainability Reduction Programme. It was a very interactive session as we freely related with the scientists and asked questions when necessary.

Similarly, we had a lunch break at Wardown Park in Luton and toured around the park. We also visited the museum at the park and enjoyed the aesthetic structures available in there. 

Then we moved to Lewsey Park, Luton where we were briefed on the flood risk management in the area.

The properties between Poynters Road and Amhurst Road have been flooded in the past with observed flood depths of 0.4-0.75m, partially due to the area of ground being lower than the surrounding area. Historical records from Luton Borough Council and the Bedfordshire Fire Brigade indicate that there has been flooding to infrastructure and properties along Lewsey Farm and Pastures Way in 2005, 2009 and 2010. DG5 records (Thames Water) from 2012 which were included in the Luton SWMP (2012) indicate that there are properties within the BWPR CDA which have flooded from sewers in the past.

The flood risk management project helped in the reduction of flood risk to infrastructure and properties and improved public safety, provided opportunity to improve maintenance of three outfalls with security screens at Lewsey Brook and provided opportunity to improve amenity of the green areas at the Lewsey Park.

The academic set-up and structure of lectures so far have made it interesting and educating for me, as it has impacted and ameliorated my thinking skills, writing skills and problem-solving approach. I have also made new friends from around the world.

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