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

Flooded fields in Oxfordshire
Researchers, farmers, communities and local authorities among collaborative team
River flows from the September 2017 UK hydrological summary
River flows generally in the normal range or above across the UK
Lake and trees
Next generation land surface and hydrological prediction
Ed Tipping
Professor Ed Tipping praised for influencing and inspiring the work of environmental scientists around the world over the past 39 years
Tractor spreading fertilizer
Conference to explore challenges and opportunities for nitrogen research between UK and India
Flooded road sign
International podcast discusses flooding and hydrology with CEH scientist
UK river flows in August 2017 hydrological summary
Groundwater levels remain below normal in areas despite wet summer

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