Our research

We provide insight into the relationships between the natural water resource and its dependent ecosystems, so that the impacts of pressures from exploitation of the resource can be understood.

This knowledge is key to maximising the benefits provided by our water resources, while minimising adverse consequences to the environment or to human development. Additionally this understanding will inform integrated water resource management and the restoration of over-exploited freshwater and wetland ecosystems.

Our research embraces ecology and hydrology, water quality and water quantity, pristine and polluted environments, short-term variability and long-term change. It aims to deliver locally and globally.

World-class science and innovation

  • Long-term observation of surface waters, including the physical habitat, chemistry and biology of rivers, lakes and wetlands
  • Development and deployment of novel monitoring techniques to quantify extremes, dynamics and fluxes of water, associated chemicals, biota and sediment
  • Understanding the nature and change of variability in water resources, water quality and ecosystem function, and identifying trends and step-changes by comparison with observed historical variability
  • Using Earth observation data, monitoring and models to assess the status of regional and global water resources, now and in the future
  • Informing strategic planning and development of water policy by applying models that deliver forecasts of the likely impacts of change on water resources availability

Sampling at Loch Flemington

Science Groups

CEH Aquatic Mesocosm facility overflows

Our facilities

SIL2016 conference banner
Attending the International Society of Limnology (SIL) congress
Ceratium hirundinella, a dinoflagellate phytoplankton
Microscopic findings from Windermere sampling
UK river flows in the June 2016 hydrological summary
June 2016 Hydrological Summary for the UK
Dr Toby Marthews, a land surface modeller at CEH, speaks at the High Impact Weather conference
CEH scientists at 3-day conference
Water, People and Cooperation, UNESCO water programme book
CEH water research closely related to international agendas
Aerial view of geo-engineering applications of a modified zeolite product called Aqual-P at Lake Okaro, New Zealand.
Assessing geo-engineering approaches
table of chemical risk ranking
Identifying the single most dangerous chemical present in UK surface waters
HydEOmex project logo
Enhancing hydrological situation monitoring with earth observation