Water quality refers to the biological, chemical and physical makeup of the water. There are always natural changes in water quality, but industrialisation, population growth, climate change and land-use change have meant more pollutants are entering water systems than ever before. These pollutants alter entire ecosystems and present a danger to human health.

This pollution can be very sudden and dramatic - the BP oil spill made headlines for months. Other pollution, however, is sometimes harder to spot. Nitrogen and phosphorous, for example, quietly enter the environment as by-products of industrial processes. The resulting nutrient-rich water system can actually be harmful for aquatic life, with algae using up all the oxygen and creating ‘dead zones’.  

There is also the financial cost and the toll on human health. Nitrogen pollution alone costs Europe an estimated £60-280 billion per year, and about 10 million Europeans drink water with unsafe levels of nitrate.

CEH work on water quality

Projects

Monitoring sites

Research facilities

Detail from Land Cover plus Crops Map 2015 showing crop types
Digital mapping of arable cropping on an annual basis
Spraying fertiliser on a field
New international management system to fight nitrogen pollution
Splashing rain droplets
Relevance of AMR to environmental regulators and policymakers
Harvest rice field in Xiangtan, Hunan, China (CC BY-SA 3.0) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rice_field,_Hunan.JPG#filelinks
CEH signs collaboration agreement with the Hunan Provincial Agriculture Committee
Into the Blue
Last week scientists from across the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology took part in NERC’s ‘Into the Blue’ public engagement and networking event held at Manchester Airport Runway Visitors Park.
Derwent water in the English Lake District
Sharing new developments in lake research, regulation and management
Conwy catchment
Integrated hydrological and ecological monitoring and research in a varied coastal catchment
microplastic samples from the thames
Study finds microplastics in tributaries of the River Thames derived from road-marking paints and other manmade sources
India-UK Water Security Centre
A major water research initiative between UK and India researchers launches today
Borrowdale, Lake District. Photo by Andy Sier
Integrating data, models and scientific knowledge on natural capital to support research and decision-making

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