Water Resources

Lead Research Organisation: NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Abstract

Over the next five years CEH will deliver its strategy, Meeting the Challenges of Environmental Change, by Science Areas underpinned by Monitoring & Observation Systems and Environmental Informatics, through Business and Policy Innovation, and Public Engagement. Water is an essential resource that supports our social and economic development through meeting the requirements of agriculture, industry, households, power generation, navigation and recreation. However, the planet’s water resources are already fully exploited in sustaining natural ecosystems which have developed in response to the natural availability and variability of water across the globe. An incomplete understanding of the available resource coupled with competing demands creates one of today’s major global challenges. CEH research aims to provide insight into the relationships between the natural water resource and its dependent ecosystems, so that the impacts of pressures from our exploitation of the resource can be understood. This understanding 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.

Publications

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Acreman M (2016) Environmental flows-basics for novices Environmental flows in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water

 
Description Some of the research and development highlights from the Science Area are described briefly below. 1 Monitoring, making the data available, and understanding observed variability and change COSMOS -A network of new instrumentation known as Cosmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing Systems are being deployed by CEH across the UK with co-located Automatic Weather Stations to provide measurements of near-surface soil moisture, a key variable in the control of land-surface-atmosphere interactions. In late 2013 the first four sites were established, and by March 2015, 34 stations will be operational and providing near real-time data freely available via the internet. River Lambourn Observatory Monitoring - River water quality monitoring at the River Lambourn Observatory has resulted in a unique high resolution 6-year record including periods of extreme drought and high flow. Recently, detailed hydraulic measurements, coupled with vegetation mapping, have enabled a fuller understanding of the effect of aquatic plants on flow velocity and turbulence allowing the development of a 3D hydraulic model to assess the impact of different weed management strategies. Results show the effect of different weedcut patterns on both flow conveyance and the detailed velocity and turbulence fields throughout the reach. 2 Information services: adding value to data Hydrological Outlook UK -The Hydrological Outlook UK was first made publicly available during the Water Security Knowledge Exchange Programme event held in Westminster in November 2013, the main speaker was the Rt Hon David Willetts MP. The outlook (http://www.hydoutuk.net/) presents regional seasonal forecasts of river flows and groundwater levels across the UK, and users also have access to model forecasts at selected river flow gauging sites and groundwater boreholes. To-date the site has had > 2400 unique visitors, with peak visitor numbers occurring during the 2014 floods. Insights into the biogeography of bacterioplankton across the Thames catchment -CEH research has highlighted that there was a large gradient in bacterial community composition linked to the location of the sampling site within the Thames catchment, which was largely independent of water chemistry. This study has given us a valuable insight into riverine bacteria and will provide a baseline for future studies into the functional capabilities and resilience across the community gradient. 3 Supporting the better management of water resources Time for space: detecting stratification from high frequency surface measurements of temperature The onset of stratification, which usually occurs in spring, is one of the key events that controls seasonal changes to the structure, function and phenology of aquatic systems. As part of the CEH-led NERC Sensor Network project UKLEON (see Planet Earth, Spring 2014) we showed that wavelet analysis of high frequency surface temperature measurements could be used to detect stratification onset with an accuracy of about 2 days18. This not only improves the temporal resolution of stratification detection, it might also allow the onset of stratification to be detected using satellites. Ensemble modelling to assess phytoplankton biomass- The CEH Lake Model, PROTECH, was part of an ensemble lake modelling study. This is the first multi-model ensemble approach applied for some of the most complex aquatic ecosystem models available, we consider it sets a precedent for what will become commonplace methodology in the future, as it enables increased robustness of model projections, and scenario uncertainty estimation due to differences in model structures. 4 Enabling and supporting national, regional and global water resources communities to work better by providing opportunities for collaboration, tools, and evidence Helping to build capacity in water management internationally - CEH continues to play an important role internationally, particularly at the UN and most recently in China and India. a)CEH facilitates input to UN freshwater sciences and management (UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization); b) CEH are involved in an EU-China Aid programme, which seeks to aid China to realise the environmental objectives of its' "12th Five-Year Plan"; c) As part of the World Bank-funded India Hydrology Project, CEH has been providing technical assistance to 13 States and eight Central Agencies in India to improve the monitoring, management, analysis, and dissemination of surface water, groundwater, hydrometeorology and water quality data. Tools for water resource management -Environmental flows functionality has been added to GWAVA, CEH's global-scale water resource modelling capability, enhancing our capacity for water resource assessment and management for basins, regions and worldwide and providing a tool to examine the trade-offs between water development, water management and ecosystem services.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment
Impact Types Cultural,Societal,Economic

 
Description CEH represents UK on UNESCO International Hydrological Programme
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact The IHP provides freshwater research, policy, education and capacity building initiatives in many of UNESCO's 190 Member States. . Contributions to the IHP come from across UK hydrology, CEHs role is central in facilitating input to UNESCO's activities in this area. It enables UK scientists and water managers to engage with a wide range of international networks.
 
Description CEH and the ASEM Water Resources Research and Development Center, based in China, sign a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on water resources research. 
Organisation ASEM Water Resources Research and Development Centre
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution scientists from the two organisations will co-operate in a number of areas, including research on limnology and lake modelling, catchment management, and remediation and restoration of degraded water bodies.
Collaborator Contribution scientists from the two organisations will co-operate in a number of areas, including research on limnology and lake modelling, catchment management, and remediation and restoration of degraded water bodies.
Impact CEH scientists have been invited to join the ASEM consortium working on Lake Dongjiang in Hunan Province, China.
Start Year 2014
 
Description CEH and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore sign a memorandum of understanding 
Organisation Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The two organisations will identify opportunities for development of collaborative research, exchange of research scientists, and joint staff and studentships.
Collaborator Contribution The two organisations will identify opportunities for development of collaborative research, exchange of research scientists, and joint staff and studentships.
Impact An initial project is for CEH scientists to work with an IISc team to monitor soil moisture at the IISc catchment near Mysore. CEH will supply a state-of-the-art Cosmic Ray Soil Moisture Measuring Device, COSMOS and train IISc, staff and students on its use.
Start Year 2014
 
Description CEH sign MoU with Changjiang River Scientific Research Insitute 
Organisation Ministry of Water Resources
Department Changjiang Water Resources Commission
PI Contribution The parties will collaborate on world class research on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems; Catchment monitoring and observation systems; Management of water resources and water ecological restoration
Collaborator Contribution The parties will collaborate on world class research on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems; Catchment monitoring and observation systems; Management of water resources and water ecological restoration
Impact Proposals submitted for project funding
Start Year 2017
 
Description CEH sign MoU with General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design (GIWP) 
Organisation Ministry of Water Resources
Department General Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Planning and Design
PI Contribution Scientists from the two organisations will now co-operate in a number of areas, including: water resources and hydro-ecological assessment natural water assets (Natural Capital) accounting economic valuation of water catchment management Flood and drought planning and risk assessment Climate change risk assessment
Collaborator Contribution Scientists from the two organisations will now co-operate in a number of areas, including: water resources and hydro-ecological assessment natural water assets (Natural Capital) accounting economic valuation of water catchment management Flood and drought planning and risk assessment Climate change risk assessment
Impact On going project activity
Start Year 2016
 
Description CEH sign MoU with National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee 
Organisation National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee
Country India 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The parties will collaborate on: Ecohydrology, Environmental flows and ecosystem services, Hydrological modeling, Water quality modeling, and Experimental catchments and data management.
Collaborator Contribution The parties will collaborate on: Ecohydrology, Environmental flows and ecosystem services, Hydrological modeling, Water quality modeling, and Experimental catchments and data management.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description CEH sign MoU with the China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) 
Organisation Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research
Country China 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution The partners will collaborate of integrated water resources management, water quality, flood and drought monitoring, catchment restoration
Collaborator Contribution The partners will collaborate of integrated water resources management, water quality, flood and drought monitoring, catchment restoration
Impact Joint project work; staff exchanges
Start Year 2016
 
Description CEH sign MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The parties will collaborate on: water-, energy- and food-security, including integrated water resources management, freshwater ecosystems & water quality monitoring & modelling, agriculture water management; environmental change assessment, impacts and mitigation; environmental monitoring and data management, including remote sensing/earth observation, field-, reach- and catchment-scale experimentation & monitoring.
Collaborator Contribution The parties will collaborate on: water-, energy- and food-security, including integrated water resources management, freshwater ecosystems & water quality monitoring & modelling, agriculture water management; environmental change assessment, impacts and mitigation; environmental monitoring and data management, including remote sensing/earth observation, field-, reach- and catchment-scale experimentation & monitoring.
Impact none yet
Start Year 2016
 
Description CEH sign MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The parties will collaborate on: • water-, energy- and food-security, including integrated water resources management, floods and drought risk prediction & management, freshwater ecosystems & water quality monitoring & modelling, land use & land cover dynamics, fluvial hydraulics, glacial hydrology, hydropower estimation, agriculture water management; • environmental change assessment, impacts and mitigation; • environmental monitoring and data management, including remote sensing/earth observation, field-, reach- and catchment-scale experimentation & monitoring.
Collaborator Contribution The parties will collaborate on: • water-, energy- and food-security, including integrated water resources management, floods and drought risk prediction & management, freshwater ecosystems & water quality monitoring & modelling, land use & land cover dynamics, fluvial hydraulics, glacial hydrology, hydropower estimation, agriculture water management; • environmental change assessment, impacts and mitigation; • environmental monitoring and data management, including remote sensing/earth observation, field-, reach- and catchment-scale experimentation & monitoring.
Impact non yet
Start Year 2017
 
Title The UK Lakes Portal 
Description The UK Lakes Portal is a new online gateway to discover the lakes of the United Kingdom, linking data from many institutions into one national hub. 
Type Of Technology Webtool/Application 
Year Produced 2016 
Impact new resource for both scientists and the local citizen scientist interested in finding out more about their local lake and the biodiversity found within it 
 
Description CEH and WMO jointly convene meeting to scope out plan to deliver the global WMO Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS). 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Hydrologists from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) are collaborating with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on a pilot hydrological status and outlook system to help countries prepare better for flood and drought situations. CEH and WMO jointly convened a meeting of the world's leading hydrologists in Uganda from 26 to 29 September 2017 to scope out a four-year plan to deliver the global WMO Hydrological Status and Outlook System (HydroSOS).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.ceh.ac.uk/news-and-media/news/global-hydrological-monitoring-takes-flight
 
Description UK-China science to policy dialogue on water security and resources 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Delegates discussed building a UK-China environmental science to policy dialogue, delivering a platform for links between scientists, policy engineers and policy makers.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016