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

Ganges near Haridwar. Photo: Mike Acreman
UK-India workshop on future research needs to underpin sustainable management of the Ganga
A boat at Derwentwater
Long-term science in a galaxy far, far away...
Flooding damage amid poor housing
Reducing the risk of water-related disasters
River flow snapshot
October 2015 Monthly Hydrological Summary for the UK
FEH Supplementary Report cover
Online access replaces CD-ROM
Rainbow South Oxfordshire
A seasonal hydrological forecast for the UK
Windermere from Wansfell
Promoting evidence-based lakes management
COSMOS station
Cosmic ray soil moisture monitoring network for the UK
riverside vegetation
Managing colour levels in drinking water
Linlithgow Loch and Palace
CEH hosts international task team