Mansell-Moullin, Mike

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Mike Mansell-Moullin


1926 -


1944-48 Royal Engineers; Royal Pakistan Engineers, Captain

1951 M.A. Geography Cambridge. Glacier research, Norway.

1956 DIC Engineering Hydrology. First P. Wolf postgraduate course

1951-55 Shire Valley Project, Malawi. Fieldwork and Surveys. Volta River Project, Ghana. Both with Sir Wm. Halcrow and Partners Hydrologist. Project studies included estuary saline intrusion to safeguard riparian population.

1956-59 Hydrologist, Hydrological Survey of Iraq, Binnie Deacon and Gourley. Established a snow survey forecasting service for the operation of dams, irrigation, hydro-electricity, flood control. Installed 23 snow courses at elevations up to 2600m in a 320km area of Iraqi mountains. Found and trained Kurdish snow surveyors with support of ex-Antarctic British staff.

1959-69 Hydrologist then Chief Hydrologist, Binnie and Ptnrs, Consulting Engineers. Built up hydrological and hydrogeological team. Large variety of project and other studies for overseas (Middle East, Africa, South America, Malaysia, Pakistan, Iran, etc) and UK.

1969-1980’s Independent Consultant Hydrologist. Retained by Binnie and Partners. Consultancies with Consulting Firms, International Banks, United Nations and others in over 25 countries. Very wide range of studies included regional water resources, water supply projects, irrigation, groundwater resources, erosion and reservoir sedimentation, environmental studies, etc. Reviewed the flood safety of fourteen major international dams.

Mid 1980’s Closely involved with local chalk river protection societies in Southern England, particularly those alarmed by over abstractions of groundwater by Water Companies. Technical witness for objectors in three Public Enquiries, in each the Minister refused the application.

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

The Mangla Dam[edit]

The Mangla Dam on the Jhelum River in Pakistan was the world’s third largest earthfill dam when completed in 1967. Sited where the river emerges from the Himalayan foothills onto the Plains, enormous monsoon flood waves can occur from the 33,300 sq km catchment. I undertook the design storm and flood studies for Binnie and Partners based on estimates of the probable maximum storm, the first time that this approach had been applied to this region. A meteorologist from the UK Meteorological Office was attached to the team. The estimated Probable Maximum Flood peak was 73,600 m³/s. A paper on the studies by G. M. Binnie and myself was presented at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London in 1965.

Flood Studies for the United Kingdom[edit]

In 1933 the Institution of Civil Engineers prepared an Interim Report on ‘Floods in Relation to Reservoir Practice. Additions were added in 1960. However, a Revision Committee was set up by the Institution in 1966 and I was appointed the Technical Secretary. I had previously drafted some suggestions (9pp) on the scope of the studies which the committee might wish to consider. The whole field of flood hydrology in all the UK’s regions and for all engineering purposes was considered, leading to a comprehensive report and programme, with costs and staff estimate (Flood Studies for the United Kingdom, February 1967). NERC agreed to fund the studies which were carried out by a comprehensive team in Wallingford, led by John Sutcliffe. I served as a Consultant on the Steering Committee. The 5-volume Report was published in 1975. I was delighted to be invited to a 40th Reunion in 2014.

British Hydrological Society[edit]

1982. At an International Hydrological Assembly held in Exeter University in July 1982 four of us discussed the idea of forming a Hydrological Society. Next day 70-80 delegates approved the idea, an Initial Planning Group of eight members was elected and I was asked to be the Chairman. Intensive discussions, studies and a questionnaire over a year led to a report. This showed that 489 individuals (91%) supported the idea of an independent society. This would be concerned with both the scientific and applied aspects of hydrology. The British Hydrological Society was launched at the Royal Society in London on 1st November 1983. I was delighted to be elected the Founder President and, later, the first Honorary Life Member. There are now over one thousand members. The Society, which is highly respected in both the UK and overseas, is run entirely by and for its members with assistance from two associated organisations.


In the early 1960’s a Water Resources Bill was being debated in Parliament. An integrated network of River Authorities was proposed and Binnie and Partners (Consulting Engineers) were advising on this. On 20th December 1962 I listened in the Public Gallery to the debate in which the need for hydrologists was noted, there being very few at that time. They were described as ‘Avis Rara’ (rare birds). As one of them, I liked the description. How the situation has changed!

Reference Material[edit]

Major Publications[edit]

I have had published a variety of papers on hydrological and water resources topics for symposia on floods, arid zone hydrology, groundwater projects, the effects of de-forestation on tropical low river flows including papers in India, Iran, Malaysia, Peru, etc.

  • Mansell-Moullin, M., 1966. Application of flow-frequency curves to the design of catch waters. J. Instn Wat. Engrs, 20, pp.409-424.
  • Morse Binnie, G. and Mansell-Moullin, M., 1966. The Estimated Probable Maximum Storm and Flood on the Jhelum River—a Tributary of the Indus. In RIVER FLOOD HYDROLOGY (pp. 189-210). Thomas Telford Publishing.
  • Harrison, A.J.M., MCCULLOCH, J., HERSCHY, R., MARKLAND, E., OWEN, M., BIDGOOD, R., MANSELL MOULLIN, M., HOLLAND, P., BOULTON, A., PLINSTON, D. and CALVERT, J., 1967. DISCUSSION. A NEW TYPE OF STRUCTURE FOR FLOW MEASUREMENT IN STEEP STREAMS. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 37(4), pp.811-818.
  • Adedokun, J.A., Elston, J., Sandford, S., Stanhill, G., Ormerod, W.E. and Mansell-Moullin, M., 1977. A Weather Watch for Semi-Arid Lands Within the Tropics: Discussion. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B, 278, pp.606-609.
  • Lerner DN, Mansell-Moullin M., Dellow DJ and Lloyd JW (1982) Groundwater studies for Lima, Peru. IAHS Publ. 135, 17-30
  • Mansell-Moullin, M. 1986. The River Piddle􏰁s water resources. The River Piddle Protection Association.
  • Mansell-Moullin, M., 1986. Mission Report: Improvement of the River Forecasting and Flood Warning System for the Indus River Basin in Pakistan-Phase II (PAK/84/003/A/01/16). World Meteorological Organization, Geneva.
  • Goudy, A.P., LAW, F., DEANE, A., PHILLIPS, W., JAMIESON, D., MANSELL-MOULLIN, M., RAY, W., CROWLEY, F., CAIRNCROSS, A., COULTHART, A. and WHIPP, S., 1987. BOMBAY WATER SUPPLY PROJECT: DEMAND AND RESOURCE PLANNING. DISCUSSION. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 82(4), pp.1189-1202.