Delivering science for sustainable management of catchments and water resources

CEH’s Water research provides scientific insights into the processes that determine water flows, water quality and biotic resources in order to assist the sustainable management of catchments and their water resources.

Analysis of observations of the morphology, hydrology, chemistry and biology of lowland and upland rivers and lakes is used to identify trends and evaluate new and existing models. Monitoring, experiments and modelling are used to identify roles of abiotic and biotic processes and interactions in freshwaters, and in the management, conservation and restoration of freshwater ecosystems. Catchment-scale monitoring and experimental studies aim to reduce the uncertainties in the prediction of environmental change arising from limitations in our current understanding of hydrological feedbacks between the land surface and atmosphere

Research topics

Our Water research is delivered through three interacting topics:

  • WA-1 Variability and change in water systems
  • WA-2 Ecohydrological processes
  • WA-3 Science for water management

These topics concentrate on: detecting environmental changes and identifying their causes; quantifying and attributing the causes and predicting the impacts of change; and, where possible, developing solutions to minimise their impact, enabling us to use our environment in a more sustainable way. They also inform and are informed by their Biogeochemistry and Biodiversitycounterparts; data is further linked through the Environmental Information Data Centre.

For further details, please see the CEH Delivery Plan [PDF].

Areas of research

We aim to generate new data and tools that inform and support the wider community, including the public and policy-makers such as government departments, including the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for International Development and the Department for Transport, and the European Union.

Examples of Water research nclude:

Collaborative research projects

Our Water researchers participate in many collaborative projects. Some examples include Endocrine Disruption in Catchments, Euraqua, Euro-limpacs and WATCH. Please click here for more information.

External support

Research is supported by many different stakeholders. This includes collaborative research with the Met Office, with NERC-funded programmes and with national agencies including the Environment Agency, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Countryside Council for Wales.