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Printer Friendly VersionSelected Information - Proposed Research

CP497  Maximising information from catchment management data Catchment Management
Project Appreciation and Objectives

Water companies implementing catchment management initiatives base important investment and operational decisions on trends and patterns in water quality monitoring data. Analysing this data to yield precise and unambiguous evidence requires the careful selection and application of appropriate statistical methods. Commercial software packages offer an array of complex analysis techniques but can be difficult for non-specialists to use and interpret and are not specifically designed to provide clear solutions to common catchment data problems such as:

  • assessing and remedying common data quality problems;
  • dealing with low-level contaminants below the limit of detection;
  • analysing and extrapolating seasonal and long-term trends in water quality;
  • testing for water quality improvements from specific management interventions;
  • modelling and predicting water quality responses to rainfall events;
  • estimating pollutant loads; and,
  • quantifying uncertainty.

This study will provide comprehensive and structured guidance and training to enable catchment managers to obtain reliable and credible evidence on which to base operational and investment decisions.

Business Benefits to Clients

  • Reduced risk of unreliable evidence underpinning important investment and operational decisions.
  • Staff empowered and confident in extracting business critical information from data using consistent and robust approach, so reducing reliance on specialist internal and external support.
  • Cost savings through more efficient and effective use of staff time.

Work Programme

  1. Review business applications of water quality data analysis; scope potential problems and pitfalls; establish guiding principles.
  2. Identify best-practice approaches to common water quality analysis problems; document theory and practical guidance; illustrate good and poor practice with practical examples; identify appropriate software implementation options.
  3. Prepare and deliver a training course for practitioners.

Project Output and Implementation

Trained staff, supported by reliable and accessible guidance, able to process, analyse and interpret water quality data. Catchment managers will use the output to enable them to take well-informed operational and investment decisions when assessing the effectiveness of existing catchment management schemes and when planning and implementing new ones.

Related WRc Work

  • Statistical advice service for monitoring programmes and data analysis (EA 2007-2012)
  • Demonstration Test Catchments: an experimental design and monitoring strategy (Defra 2010)
  • WRc's Portfolio Programme
    Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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