Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Developing more effective models for managing water from the local to the national scale from a risk and pollution perspective - LM0308

Defra works with many government agencies, water industries and NGOs to improve the management of our land and water resources. Many challenges result as there are many competing demands by agriculture, water industries, tourism and nature conservation on these resources. With the threat of climate change, planning future management interventions is complex and difficult - for example: (i) What is the cause of a decline in water quality in a river and what are the options to improve it? How do these options impact other industries including conservation targets? (ii) If we increase agricultural production what are implications for meeting our targets for a wide range of national and international regulations such as the Water Framework Directive and will climate change make that more difficult? To help make these complex decisions, the diverse and often fragmented data and specialist models spread around the research community need to be brought together, tested and linked so problems and possible solutions can be explored and tested in a more integrated way. This cannot happen without the community also coming together encouraged to share common problems and solutions, including their data and modelling tools.
This project addresses these challenges by creating both a community forum to prioritise modelling needs and a modelling framework hosted on a robust platform to facilitate greater sharing and linking of data and models. The overall objective is to promote a change in culture towards greater collaborative working and improved accessibility and effective use of existing models and tools developed over many years and to encourage a move away from "silo management" where each problem is addressed in isolation.
To achieve this objective: (i) A model database will be compiled including information on advantages and disadvantages of each model and its past performance so model selection will be easier for the user community; (ii) Case studies will be conducted to test the value of a more integrated data and modelling approach to address complex questions challenging land and water managers; (iii) Model outputs will be evaluated with data using rigorous statistical approaches with reports on each case study delivered back to Defra; (iv) Data and models that users find most useful and practical will be hosted on a web platform to increase accessibility; (v) A wide range of national datasets will be brought together and conditioned to create a national catchment modelling database to minimise time and effort finding and manipulating the data into a suitable format for use in models for the whole community into the future; (vi) A "Community Fund" will be established to enable flexibility during the project to bring on board additional data, models or tools not held by the project team but prioritised by users as resources needed on the platform to create a robust and relevant modelling framework; (vii) The modelling framework and platform will be supported and linked to NERC's new cloud-based (E4A) program to ensure long-term support and improved services for the whole community into the future.

1. To collate and transfer knowledge of model pedigree and performance to the user community.
2. To develop a database of key national datasets to underpin national integrated water quality modelling.
3. To develop flexible and robust solutions to link models data and other information such that complex questions or uncertainties can be resolved
4. To provide funding for critical resources to be brought into the project to ensure maximum user impact and uptake.
5. To establish and run a forum of policy makers, regulators, industry, advisors and scientists who, together, will co-construct the key questions facing land, water and air management, helping to address policy objectives.

1.1„h to provide a methodology by which users can select the most appropriate models for a particular job, along with an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each model, and a knowledge of model pedigree and past performance;
1.2„h to provide supporting evidence on model pedigree and performance to underpin the model selection tool;
1.3„h to assess the confidence in model-based assessments of environmental issues through comparison of different modelling methodologies;
1.4„h to provide answers to the policy questions raised by the users as part of the forum.

2.1„h gain a full understanding of the data requirements of an integrated water quality modelling framework, based on the requirements of the models selected and of the expert panel;
2.2„h source and collate the required datasets;
2.3„h assess the datasets available for suitability within the framework in order to produce a viable long-term solution.

3.1 To synthesise and review the opportunities and barriers to linking models and data for catchment systems to answer multiple pressures
3.2 Document codes (languages, data storage, state visibility, and discretisation) and implementation of standards for data exchange and model modularity of models prioritised by users and tested in task 3
3.3 Options to be determined by users
a. Extend current meta-models / modelling frameworks (SAGIS, Farmscoper, LUCI) to embed other specialised models and explore uncertainty LM0308
b. Enhancements of specialist models to increase their interface for users and/or coupling to other specialist models
c. Source and assess value of existing tools to aid in model comparison, uncertainty and evaluation.
d. Web-enable prioritised models to enable user access and implementation in the cloud environment thus benefitting from transparency and repeatability of model applications workflow tracking, greater security, ease of user access etc.

4.1 Establish an assessment panel to consider requests for funding to being on board a range of assets and resources from the community external to the consortium
4.2 Award funding on a objective and competitive basis ensuring licensing and IPR arrangements are in compliance with Defra requirements

5.1„h To establish a stakeholder and user forum to improve communication between users and modellers so that the key questions of users and ways to answer them are co-constructed
5.2„h Identify who the stakeholders and users are and to understand their interests and requirements
5.3„h Identify the 5 key questions to be addressed in Tasks 3-5
5.4„h Developing an improved dialogue between model developers and users so the development meets the users needs
5.5„h Delivery the tools and model outputs to the user community
5.6„h Create a forum to achieve project legacy
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : LM0308 Final output   (3k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2017

Cost: £631,606
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Centre For Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), University of Reading, The James Hutton Institute, A D A S UK Ltd (ADAS)
Agriculture and Water Quality              
Environmental Protection              
Sustainable Water Management              
Water Framework Directive              
Water Pollution              
Water Quality