interactive online course


from £199


4 & 5 December 2024

Implications for management of rivers


The course on 4 and 5 December is an interactive online course.

We also run this course in person, in Wallingford, subject to demand.


Students from £199 

Professionals from £249 

Save £50! The above prices include an early bird discount available until 1 September 2024


4 and 5 December 2024

The interactive online course will run over two half days - 9.30 am to 1 pm daily.

Please sign up online now here! (credit and debit cards accepted)

Short course description:

Aquatic ecosystems are increasingly recognised as legitimate water users as they provide essential ecosystem services and support our quality of life. But how much water do they need?

Through a mix of presentations and practical exercises, this one-day course will equip you with knowledge, tools and experience to assess the water requirements of freshwater ecosystems and understand the implications for water resources and flood management.

The training in this course focuses on rivers. We will cover other wetlands for a small part of the course.

This course does not cover water quality.

Learning outcomes:

By the end of the course, you will understand the principles and methods to determine the water requirements of freshwater ecosystems, including rivers and wetlands.

Course objectives: 

  1. ​​​Understand the concept of environmental water needs
  2. Learn the principles of methods to determine environmental water needs
  3. Investigate examples of environmental water determination
  4. Undertake practical exercises using simple tools
  5. Recognise challenges of implementing environmental water allocations

Target audience: 

  • MSc, PhD,
  • water companies,
  • early career researchers/ academics
  • Water Management practitioners, policymakers and
  • Water  regulators
  • Environmental consultants
  • River trusts, wildlife conservation organisations
  • Water utilities


Beginner – intermediate level

Prior knowledge of basic principles of hydrology and a general understanding of freshwater ecosystems are an advantage, but not essential.


20 maximum

Software and hardware requirements:

We will use Zoom for the online course.
Having a webcam is desirable (but not essential).
If you plan to participate from an open-plan office or noisy environment, please wear headphones with a built-in microphone.

We will use open-access software for some of the exercises. 


For in-person courses, the cost of accommodation is not included in the price.

Accommodation guides can be found in our FAQs.

Course leader:

Prof. Mike Acreman UKCEH Fellow

Mike has 35 years of experience in eco-hydrology and led CEH's Natural Capital science area until 2017. He led the science that established the environmental flow requirements for UK rivers and has written many books and journal papers on the subject. He has taught courses on environmental flows and wetland hydrology for University College London, World Bank and European Commission. He has been a scientific advisor on environmental flows in China and Tanzania. He was a member of the Ramsar Convention on Wetland’s science advisory panel for 20 years.


Dr. Cedric Laize Hydro-ecological modeller, UKCEH

Cedric’s research interests include environmental flows, physical habitat, eco-hydrology and hydro-climatology.

Previous course participants said:

"It was a privilege to be taught by Mike, with his extensive knowledge and engaged answers to questions. " (Rachel Remnant, freelance consultant, September 2023)

"The training panel was superb, very knowledgeable. I have enjoyed the course. It's been very interesting." (learner, September 2023)

Relevant links and key publications:

Acreman, M.C. & Dunbar, M.J. 2004 Methods for defining environmental river flow requirements – a review. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. 8, 5, 861-876.

Acreman, M.C., Dunbar, M.J., Hannaford, J., Wood, P.J., Holmes, N.J., Cowx, I., Noble, R., Mountford, J.O., King, J., Black, A., Extence, C., Crookall, D. & Aldrick, J. 2008. Developing environmental standards for abstractions from UK rivers to implement the Water Framework Directive. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 53, 6, 1105-1120.

Acreman, M.C., Aldrick, J., Binnie, C., Black, A.R., Cowx, I., Dawson, F.H., Dunbar, M.J., Extence, C., Hannaford, J., Harby, A., Holmes, N.T., Jarrett, N., Old, G., Peirson, G., Webb, J., Wood, P.J. 2009 Environmental flows from dams; the Water Framework Directive. Engineering Sustainability. 162, ESI, 13-22.

Acreman, M.C., Ferguson, A. 2010 Environmental flows and European Water Framework Directive. Freshwater Biology 55, 32-48

Acreman, M.C. (ed) 2014 Hydrological Sciences Journal. Special Issue on Hydrological Science for Environmental Flows.

Acreman, M.C., Overton, I., King, J., Wood, P., Cowx, I., Dunbar, M.J., Kendy, E., Young, W. 2014 The changing role of science in environmental flows Hydrological Sciences Journal. 59, 3-4, 433-450

Acreman, M. 2016 Environmental flows; basics for novices WIREs Water DOI: 10.1002/WAT2.1160

Dunbar, M.J., Warren, M., Extence, C., Baker, L., Cadman, D., Mould, D.J., Hall, J. and Chadd, R., 2010. Interaction between macroinvertebrates, discharge and physical habitat in upland rivers. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 20, pp.S31-S44.

Horne, A., Webb, J.A., Stewardson, M., Richter, B., M., Acreman, M.C. (eds) 2017 Water for the environment; from policy and science to implementation and management. Elsevier

Laize, C., Acreman, M.C., Schneider, C., Dunbar, M.J., Hougton-Carr, H., Flörke, M., Hannah, D. 2014 Projected flow alteration and ecological risk for pan-European rivers. Rivers Research and Applications 30, 3, 299-314