Sustainable Catchments

Catchments are landscape areas that contribute water, sediments and solutes to downstream locations.

The sustainable use of catchments that support food production, manufacturing industry, jobs, housing, recreation and ecology is critical if we are to deliver beneficial ecosystem services with respect to flood mitigation, water resource availability and water quality.

Our LEC Sustainable Catchments Challenge uses science, scholarship and innovation to address the complexities that link upstream interventions (positive or negative) to the downstream consequences for people, business and environment. We bring together disciplines that include hydrology, biogeochemistry, soil science, crop science, ecology, eco-innovation and social sciences, to tackle these issues in the face of changing local and global pressures.

Some particular areas of focus are:

  • Managing catchments to promote agricultural sustainability, but to minimize diffuse pollution from nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment and other substances.  This involves innovation to seek new soil and plant solutions to use nutrients efficiently, as well as testing ways to trap pollutants in the catchment.
  • Managing water through greater utilization of natural process to reduce flood risk, involving innovations in modelling supported by field experimental work and meaningful stakeholder engagement.
  • Determining the effects of climate change on the ecology of Sustainable Catchments.
  • Managing a collaborative National Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) for in the River Eden, to influence policy for the Government.