Information on the magnitude and variability of flow regimes, at the river-reach scale, is central to water resource and water quality management. It is also essential to know the difference between natural and artificial components of stream flow data.

Time for WHS

WHS has been working closely with the Environment Agency (EA) on these issues since we began in 2004.

We developed the first assessment of surface water pressures on river flows across the whole of England and Wales using LowFlows Enterprise. This supported the Water Framework Directive’s initial characterisation and the subsequent development of River Basin Management Plans by the EA.

We then completed a detailed assessment of the impacts of water use at individual-catchment scale across the whole of England and Wales for the EA. We characterised the impacts on river flows of over 200 impounding reservoirs, 10,000 significant discharges and 40,0000 abstraction licences.

Result: Environment Agency staff have a comprehensive understanding of water use and return at the catchment scale. Our quality-controlled datasets are used to assist in determining abstraction licences, discharge consents and catchment-level planning in the current round of Catchment Abstraction Management Strategies and national-screening-level assessments.