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Integrated catchments for environmental sustainability

Taking a catchment-based approach to understanding the resilience of ecosystems and ecosystem services.


Managing water resources for ecosystem services encompasses providing clean water for people, sustainable fisheries and flood management. Research shows freshwater ecosystems degrade faster than others due to exploitation. Decision-making at the catchment level is a contested issue and coordinated action at the catchment level poses challenges for stakeholders and regulatory institutions. However, governments support locally focused action for water catchments and citizen science involvement. Our researchers work across scales and test catchments to create an evidence base for decision-making.

Catchment systems

Find out more about some of the catchments our researchers are working on in Wales, the UK and beyond:

Wye catchment

Wye and Usk Observatory

Our long-term research in the Wye and Usk delivers evidence for the management of freshwaters as well as wider advances in whole systems knowledge.

Landscape showing Llyn Brianne reservior in autumn

Llyn Brianne Observatory

The Llyn Brianne Observatory in central Wales is one of the longest-running catchment projects anywhere in the world.

  • Taf and Ely rivers
  • River Severn
  • San Pedro River, USA
  • Large database cross-catchment studies in the UK and globally

PhD research

PhD projectStudentSupervisorPartner

Diagnosing the reasons for biodiversity decline in rural rivers

Emma PharaohIan VaughanEnvironment Agency, Natural Resources Wales

Fish swimming dynamics and behaviour in the vicinity of a fish exclusion screen

Guglielmo Sonnino-SorisioCatherine WilsonEnvironmental Agency
Environmental triggers for geosmin and 2-MIB production in drinking water reservoirs (2023)Annalise HooperRupert PerkinsDŵr Cymru Welsh Water

In silico modelling of parasite dynamics (2022)

Clement TwumasiOwen Jones, Jo Cable

Project highlights

Solving taste and odour problems in drinking water supply

Our research found the causes of taste and odour problems affecting the UK's water supply.


DURESS project

The NERC funded Diversity of Upland Rivers for Ecosystem Service Sustainability project is part of a major Research Council initiative to assess the role of biodiversity in delivering key ecosystem services on which society relies.



Managing Aquatic ecosystems and water Resources under multiple Stress (MARS).