Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

Dr David Rycroft ARCATS DipAppSci PhD CEng MICE


Dr David Rycroft's photo

Dr David Rycroft is a Visitor within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.

Dr David Rycroft is a Chartered Civil Engineer (MICE, CEng) whose career has been devoted mainly to Land Drainage.  His career began with the Ministry of Agriculture, working at their Field Drainage Experimental Unit in Cambridge. The unit was tasked with introducing 'Science' into the 'Art' of field drainage.  He later joined consultants Sir M MacDonald and Partners, working as their land drainage specialist on large irrigation schemes in Iraq and Somalia.  In 1979 he was appointed by the University of Southampton as a lecturer in Soil Physics and Land Drainage, responsible for teaching postgraduates on the MSc programme in Irrigation Engineering.  He was also responsible for teaching Hydraulics to undergraduate Civil Engineers, an activity which continues to this day.

During his time at Southampton he has worked on numerous overseas assignments, involving drainage in irrigated land for salinity control.  Countries have included: Egypt, Algeria, Ethiopia, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia and Central Asia. Assignments involving cross-drainage design (i.e. the hydraulics of culverts, bridges etc) have included Iran, Lesotho, the Solomon Islands and Uganda.

David spent a sabbatical working with Professional Sportsturf Design in Preston where he became involved in the design of drainage for local authority sports grounds (drainage improvements e.g. for Wigan BC, Stockport BC), golf courses (e.g. for Poole BC, Matfen in Northumberland, Hurst Pierrepoint in East Sussex), as well as professional football pitches (e.g. Sunderland) and race courses (e.g. Leopardstown in Ireland, Ffos Las in Wales).

More recently (2000-2006) he developed and managed a 5-year Engineering and Physical Research Council funded Masters programme devoted to identifying the engineering challenges and potential responses due to sea level rise (e.g., tidal flooding, landslip, beach erosion).  This was followed by 3 years (2006-2006) developing a water accounting system for the River Amu darya as part of the EU-funded FP6 JAYHUN research project investigating the risks occasioned by climate change to the water resources of Central Asia (principally focussing on the impacts of abstractions from the Amu darya for irrigation by Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan).

David is the author of many publications on Land Drainage and a co-author with L. K. Smedema and W. F. Vlotman (Dutch andAustralian drainage experts) of the International Text 'Modern Land Drainage' which is published by Balkema. 

Research interests

Throughout his career at the University of Southampton David has been involved with irrigation, and in particular with the drainage and control of salinity in irrigated soils. Research interests have centred on the drainage of the least permeable clays, which offer particularly acute challenges for irrigation water management. More recently he has worked on broader aspects of the management of water resources in the large river basins of Central Asia, as well as here in the UK on Coastal Management, considering future sea level rise.

Research project(s)

Creation of a network of scientists and engineers for sustainable management of the water resources of the Aral basin

The project brought together engineers, scientists and policy makers to identify research needs and propose solutions for the Aral basin.

JAYHUN - Interstate water resource risk management: Towards a sustainable future for the Aral Basin

The overall aim of the project was to contribute to ensuring a sustainable future for the Aral basin that takes account of the rapid glacier melt taking place in the upper catchment and the rapid decline in reservoir storage capacity caused by siltation. These aspects have been widely neglected in past studies, and unless they are taken into account in the water planning process, will cause further environmental degradation in the basin and significant economic disruption as water resources become scarcer.

Code Title Role
Dr David Rycroft
Engineering, University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton. SO17 1BJ United Kingdom
Share this profile Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings