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CEH Water Programme

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) water programme aims to support the sustainable use of freshwater resources by increasing understanding of how air, water, soil, vegetation and human influences act on the hydrological cycle.

The programme achieves this through the management of national and international datasets related to the hydrological cycle, long term and short term monitoring to better understand new issues and challenges.

These monitoring programmes support the improvement of understanding, the development of models to enable assessments of risk, projection of trends and sustainable management options.


  1. Variability and Changes in Water Systems – to detect and attribute system responses to environmental drivers – monitoring and modelling over the longer term and larger scales including analysis of uncertainty.
  2. Ecohydrological Processes – to identify and quantify fluxes, pathways, sources and stores of water, chemicals, sediments and biology and their interactions using data and models at a range of scales (e.g. from laboratory to landscape).
  3. Science for Water Management – to provide better tools, models, methodologies, techniques, guidance, scenario analysis to enable improved adaption, mitigation and restoration of hydrological systems.

Who will benefit?

Policy makers

The programme provides the scientific support to the development of water related policies at international, European and national levels, and the development of management methods and tools to enable implementation of those policies.

A recent example of one such project is the current CEH-BGS collaborative research on UK water security. The outputs from the CEH Water programme have a significant societal and economic impact. Although independent it maintains two way relationships with stakeholders to help develop, produce and deliver projects that provide evidence to policymakers, businesses and the third sector to help determine and validate solutions for environmental problems.

Beneficiaries for Water Programme research will include:

  • Government departments (Defra, Scottish Government, DARDNI, DFID) and international organisations (EC & UN) - provision of evidence to support to policymaking.
  • Regulators (EA SEPA, and NIEA) - provision of methodology and tools.
  • Industry (construction, agriculture, insurance, energy, water utilities) - provision of advice, methods and tools to optimise their competitiveness and reduce risks associated with hydrological hazard.
  • Public - Raising awareness and understanding of hydrological issues through a proactive web, press and public relations programme.
  • Supporting and aligning international S&T cooperation with other countries with strong research communities and programmes (EU, USA, Canada, Australia, Japan) and emerging economies (Brazil, India, China) and working with partners in developing countries e.g. Zambia, Niger, Kenya, Tunisia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam and Chile to build research capacities and utilise the latest science to address major global challenges.


Start and end dates: April 2007 - ongoing