Upland Hydrology Group

The Upland Hydrology Group brings together a range of different interests including water companies, land-owners, conservation agencies and research scientists.  Our goal is to reach a consensus about how land and water should best be managed in the uplands. The Group then aims to disseminate reliable, practical and evidence-based advice to help both policy-makers and land managers maintain a working balance between what may be competing interests. We bring together farmers, land owners, water companies, conservation bodies and the research community.

Water is a central element in all upland ecosystem processes – it is both an essential input and a critical output. Its input is essential to maintain the distinctive upland ecosystems and its output contributes to river levels downstream. This has two important consequences for us.

Drinking Water: 70% of our water supplies come from the uplands. Generally this water is unpolluted, but one problem for the water companies is colour in water. This happens in particular when water flows off a catchment dominated by peaty soils. Damaged peat is more easily washed into the run-off water, increasing the problem – and the cost of removal.

Flooding: As the uplands are areas of high rainfall and generally rapid runoff, they contribute significantly to flood events downstream.If we can slow the rate at which water runs off the hills this could be of huge benefit.  At the moment we know we can achieve this at a local level, but the impact this has downstream is still uncertain.

View the Upland Hydrology timeline here.

Project website