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Hybrid event: Water resources monitoring and modelling for catchment management

May 11 @ 9:30 am - 4:00 pm


The UK has 145 billion cubic metres a year of renewable water resource. In many areas this resource is under pressure from high unstainable abstraction rates, which are predicted to increase with population growth and climate change. Plentiful fresh, clean water is essential to life and underpins all human activity (including economic activity), as well as the functioning of most ecosystems. Water availability has a significant impact on water bodies not reaching ‘good status’. Total abstractions per head of population in England are about 266 cubic metres per year, with demand for water resources being highest in South East England. Abstracted water, from surface waters and groundwater, is used for drinking water and other household uses (35%) and industrial uses including agriculture.

Too much water is also a problem – flooding can be a significant risk to people, homes and businesses and is estimated to cause an expected £1.3 billion of damage to property annually in England. Restoration of upland catchments and head waters are helping to manage floods and harmonising summer flows. To further help balance flows sustainable drainage systems can absorb and slow the passage of surface runoff rainfall away from the sewer network and into natural water courses. Intercepting and capturing high flows caused by extreme rainfall events can reduce flooding and relieve pressure to abstract during periods of low flow. Recently projects have been set up to trade water between users and licence holders within catchments as a way of adjusting within the limitations of the existing abstraction licencing framework.

This workshop looked at the holistic approach to catchment management P the benefits this brings when balancing demand and flood management. Historically, abstracting available water and speeding up the flow of flood water away from the risk area has proved counterproductive with a far greater distributive impact on those downstream. Having data and being able to predict the impact of a storm and surface water flows, both short term and long term, allows a targeted approach to investment

Venue: AURORA Innovation Centre (British Antarctic Survey), High Cross, Cambridge CB3 0ET

Chaired by: Matt Ellison, Ground Control and kindly sponsored by: Kisters

Presentations are available to download in pdf format from the links below:


  1. National River Flow Archive: From River to User. Alannah Killeen and Steven Turner
  2. Open channel flow monitoring. Matthew Brownhill, Teledyne ISCO
  3. Supporting sustainable abstraction in agriculture. Melvyn Kay, UK Irrigation Association
  4. Reclaim the Rain project. Tom Mann and Ruby Shepperson, Suffolk County Council.
  5. Water resources modelling for the Environment Agency. John Griffiths and Steven Roberts, Kisters
  6. Water resources trading platform. Simon Murray, Wheatley Solutions


May 11
9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category: