UK river flow data now web accessible

Decades’ worth of river flow data have been made freely available over the web for the first time on the UK’s National River Flow Archive.

The National River Flow Archive has today (29 February 2016) released an expanded data download facility which allows users to download data from all the gauging stations held on the national archive. Previously, only data for around 400 gauging stations were accessible for direct download from the NRFA website, with the remaining 1,100 or so requiring users to contact the NRFA by telephone or email to retrieve information and data.

River gauging station at ButtercrambeThe full station data release means river flow records for around 1,500 gauging stations totalling 59,000 years’ of daily data, are now available to download directly from the NRFA website.

Dr Harry Dixon from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Head of the NRFA, said, “The expanded download facility launched today is an important step in making our data holdings more accessible to users. Ever since the first surface water yearbooks were published in the 1930s by the Inland Water Survey, the national archive has a adopted a principle of openly publishing high quality river flow data for use by researchers, practitioners and the general public. Today’s launch of improved web-access to NRFA data continues this tradition.

“We are currently working to develop a set of web-services to provide dynamic access to our key datasets and hope to launch these later in 2016.”

River flow data are collected across the UK from a wide range of catchments reflecting the diversity of the nation’s rivers. Easy access to high quality data is vital to the sustainable exploitation of the UK water resources, helping to assess and manage the risks of flooding and drought and improving the ecological health of our rivers.

Easy access to high quality data is vital to the sustainable exploitation of the UK water resources, helping to assess and manage the risks of flooding and drought and improving the ecological health of our rivers.

The National River Flow Archive operated by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, provides a centralised source of flow data and information for rivers across the country. The archive is maintained in close partnership with the UK’s major hydrometric measuring authorities who operate the gauging station networks, most notably the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Northern Ireland Rivers Agency and Natural Resources Wales.
 
NRFA data are used in a number of areas of UK water science, including water resources assessment and national situation monitoring. Dr Gwyn Rees, Science Area Lead for Water Resources at CEH said, “The NRFA underpins much of the hydrological research and water resources development and management activity in the UK. Today’s data release makes this important CEH data holding more easily accessible to users.”

Screengrab showing data from Deveron river flow gauging station
The NRFA website now provides downloadable data from approximately 1500 gauging stations.

Related links

National River Flow Archive homepage

Search for data on the NRFA website

Staff page of Dr Harry Dixon, Head of the National River Flow Archive at CEH

Staff page of Dr Gwyn Rees, Science Area Lead for Water Resources at CEH

Follow the NRFA on Twitter

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