Catchment Protection LEC.467

Catchments are increasingly understood to be complex and highly interconnected systems. This presents significant challenges for those who manage catchments, but also a range of novel and timely research opportunities.

Course Overview

In this context, the module aims to provide students with understanding and practical experience of key research and management challenges facing the future management of catchments. The module will take the Eden catchment as a case study, and draw on the latest land and water management framework, derived from the Water Framework Directive, as a basis for discussion. After analysing this framework and identifying significant challenges, students will use a combination of field, laboratory and data analysis techniques to investigate research questions related to biophysical processes within catchments. These investigations will lead to an appreciation of the limits to current knowledge and the opportunities for future research..

Who should attend?

The module is particularly relevant to engineers and other specialists working in catchment management and seeking to implement sustainable water management practices.

Course outcomes

On completion of this course, delegates will be able to:

  • Analyse management frameworks relevant to sustainable water management, and identify and justify linked research and management challenges that emerge from these frameworks
  • Apply relevant field, laboratory and data analysis techniques to investigate these challenges, and describe the limitations and potential sources of error in these techniques
  • Critically appraise the current state of knowledge related to these challenges, and plan and justify future research activities to address gaps in knowledge

Topics covered

  • The Water Framework Directive, River Basin Management, and the Eden catchment
  • Water resources management and river discharge gauging
  • Pollutant sources, pathways and impacts in receiving waters
  • Assessing morphological conditions in rivers
  • Links between land use and sustainable water management
  • Interaction with Environment Agency/Water Company/Rivers Trust staff.


The module will be run as a series of linked project days.


Ben Surridge BSc PhD

Ben is a biogeochemist with 10 years of experience of research focused on phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon cycling in freshwater and soil ecosystems. He has worked extensively over the last 15 years with Defra, the Environment Agency, the UK water industry, Rivers Trusts, farmers and other catchment stakeholders on issues surrounding catchment science and management, specifically in the context of the Water Framework Directive.