Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Climate change, land use and runoff theme - first posting

Hello from the "Climate change, land use and runoff theme". Jointly with Bob Evans, I'm leading the theme under IWAM. We hope to post more soon, but for now here are some thoughts on how some of my current work relates to the theme. Last year, I published a paper with Richard Betts looking at global river flows under climate change. This found changes in total annual flows for most of the globe - increases in high latitudes and decreases in areas like Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

Changes in seasonality were also found - such as earlier runoff peaks in spring in Siberia due to earlier snow melt. Now Met Office Hadley Centre climate models are being extended to include large scale crop models, and soil carbon and nitrogen models as well as river flows, my questions for the theme are:
  • How will changes in rainfall and river flow affect soil erosion?
  • How will climate change affect nutrient losses in agricultural systems?
  • How will these changes interact with future land use changes?
  • What is the impact of these changes on the agricultural system (productivity, management, irrigation..)?
The paper on river flows can be found here:

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Defra announces: Ecosystem Approach-Action Plan

Defra have recently sponsored several research projects looking into how an Ecosystem Approach could be followed in the UK. They have just released 'Securing a healthy natural environment' report that sets out how Defra (and the broader UK Government) will adopt an Ecosystem Approach for a more holistic, integrated and adaptive approach to natural resource management. A key aspect is assessing the state of the evidence base and improving the two way communication between researchers and policy makers- key objectives of IWAM!

Friday, 7 December 2007

Recent thinking on IWRM at CAIWA 2007

At a recent workshop on Critical Perspectives on IWRM Theory and Practice at CAIWA 2007

Nigel Watson (Lancaster, UK) presented a case that the implementation of IWRM needs rethinking. This has implications for Policy and Practice:

•IWRM should be designed around the principle of multi-party collaboration
“…the pooling of appreciations and/or tangible resources, e.g. money, labour etc., by two or more stakeholders to solve a set of problems which neither can solve individually.” (Gray, 1985, p.912)

•Move away from programmed (blue-print) implementation for IWRM and adopt an adaptive approach

“The ideal of adaptive implementation is the establishment of a process that allows policy to be modified, specified and revised – in a word, adapted – according to the unfolding interaction of the policy with its institutional setting. Its outcomes would be neither automatic nor assured, and it would look more like a disorderly learning process than a predictable procedure.” Berman (1980, p.210)

More detail to be found at:

‘Critical Perspectives on Integrated Water Management’
Special Issue of The Geographical Journal, Volume 173, No. 4,
December 2007.
Edited by Nigel Watson, Gordon Walker and Will Medd

Friday, 30 November 2007

EU Cost Meeting at North Wyke

Originally uploaded by wq0109
This week the Working group 3 from the EU COST action on 'Mitigation options for nutrient reduction in surface water and groundwater' met at North Wyke in Devon, UK. There were nearly 50 participants from over 20 EU countries and some photos of the meeting can be seen here. A new EU wide initiative on pooling mitigation measures was sketched out and will be built upon as the COST action evolves through 2008 and beyond. This will add to UK Defra led work on the Diffuse Pollution Inventory and seeks ways of sharing the evidence base through a wider European forum. Much welcome! Phil

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Open University, Open Systems Research Group work on Integrated Catchment Managing

Kevin Collins (OU) and his colleagues have been working with the catchment science team at the Environment Agency over the past 2 years. At CAIWA2007, Kevin gave a fascinating presentation on 'Trusting emergence: Some experiences of learning about integrated catchment science with the Environment Agency of England and Wales '. This paper set out to explore whether current scientific practices and the resultant scientific explanations are able to meet the demands of doing effective integrated, adaptive water management, using some learning arising from co-research work with the EA in England and Wales.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Useful web resource: Learning for Sustainability

I recently discovered this very useful site (maintained by Will Allan) that aims to provide a practical resource for those who work with communities (in the wider sense of the term) to help them identify and adopt more sustainable practices. The pages on interdisciplinary research have links to the key scientific literature.

NERC Science into Policy booklet

This is a very helpful booklet that is primarily aimed to help NERC staff and NERC-funded scientists (equally applicable to all scientists) to:
a) recognise the relevance of science to policy-makers;
b) identify available opportunities, routes and best practice to influence policy-making;
c) communicate science in an appropriate and accessible way, to the right policy-makers, showing how it fits their policy needs.

The booklet explains key aspects of the UK policy-making process and gives links to some important information sources.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

EU Floods Directive comes into force

Information from the Defra website:
The European Directive on the Assessment and Management of Flood Risks (2007/60/EC of 23 October 2007) (the Floods Directive) is designed to help Member States prevent and limit floods and their damaging effects on human health, the environment, infrastructure and property. The Floods Directive came into force on 26 November, 2007 and Member States have 2 years in which to transpose the Directive into domestic law.

There is no existing Community legislation in the field of flood risk management. In putting the case for action, the Commission points to the large numbers of people affected by flooding within the Community in recent years, the high level of actual and prospective economic damage, and the severe environmental consequences that can arise from flooding, for example when waste water treatment plants or factories holding quantities of toxic chemicals are flooded (an aspect that is in fact addressed by the Water Framework Directive).

Monday, 26 November 2007

EU COST Workshop in Devon on Mitigating Nutrient Pollution

Workshop (of WG3) of the COST Action 869 ( is being held this week at IGER North Wyke, Devon. This will bring together over 50 leading scientists from across Europe to assess how much we know about mitigating nutrient pollution of surface and ground waters.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Implementation of the Water Framework Directive: WFD CIRCA Forum

Welcome to the CIRCA Interest Group "Implementing the Water Framework Directive", a new electronic forum accessible through the internet! This forum has been established in order to improve the sharing of information and the views on the implementation of the Water Framework Directive. It is also part of the Common Implementation Strategy agreed on by the 15 Member States, Norway and the Commission on 2 May 2001 in Fiskebackskill, Sweden.

Contains all the information relevant to the WFD CIS process which is publicly available

An example being a recent workshop on setting nutrient standard
Zandvoort 11-12th October 2007

Monday, 19 November 2007

Consultation on Defra/ESRC Collaborative Research Centre on Sustainable Behaviours

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), together with the Scottish Government, the Welsh Assembly Government, the Northern Ireland Assembly, the Environment Agency and other potential partners across the UK, are jointly considering the establishment of an independent, multidisciplinary Research Centre on Sustainable Behaviours.To inform the possible establishment of such a centre, Defra are seeking the views of a wide range of stakeholders on the proposed plans for the Centre. It should be stressed that, at this stage, no firm decisions have been taken on the need for, or design of, such a Centre, and consultees are invited to input on both of these key considerations, as well as to suggest alternative approaches. If funding is agreed, the final specification for the Centre will be informed by the outcome of this consultation.

Friday, 16 November 2007

CAIWA 2007 Science-Policy Day

At the recent CAIWA2007 conference, a science-policy day was held that allowed scientists, policy makers and practitioners to learn from each on what we know and what we need to know for improved integrated and adaptive water management. Case studies from Europe (e.g. Rhine) and the rest of the world and key issues (e.g. Water quality and good ecological status- see slide above) were discussed in small structured group sessions. One key message that arose time and time again was the need for greater connectedness between science and governance at multiple scales.

Link to a presentation by Paul Ehrlich at the Stockholm Resilence Centre (September 2007)

"Wisdom seminar” with Professor Paul R. Ehrlich
Take the opportunity to see a video seminar with one of the most well-known and outspoken environmental scientists of our time, and listen to some of his collected wisdom from more than 50 years of research and public debate. Professor Ehrlich held this seminar 11 September 2007 in Stockholm where he focused his talk on coevolution, population growth and the perspective of ecosystem services.
See the video here (Time: 01:08:06/Windows Media Player)
Paul R. Ehrlich has pursued long-term studies of the structure, dynamics, and genetics of natural butterfly populations. He has also been a pioneer in alerting the public to the problems of overpopulation, and in raising issues of population, resources, and the environment as matters of public policy.

A Keynote from CAIWA 2007:Carl Folke

Professor Carl Folke is the Director of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and also Science Director of the new Stockholm Resilience Centre: Research for Governance of Social-Ecological Systems. At CAIWA 2007 he talked about the need for adaptive water governance of socio-ecological systems in times of change. In the slide above he highlighted the need for bridging organisations that can work across a range of spatial scales under a governance system that has multiple levels (polycentric). Prof Folke also stressed the need to understand the resilience of socio-ecological systems e.g. surface water catchment.

CAIWA 2007 International Conference on Adaptive & Integrated Water Management

This conference was held last week in Basel, Switzerland and aimed to bring together scientists from academia, industry, and policy making/government to analyse progress, to explore new research directions and highlight policy implications of scientific findings. A number of the offered papers are available and hopefully the keynote presentations (some of which were excellent e.g. Carl Folke) will also become available.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Proceedings from 5th International Phosphorus workshop

A highly successful workshop was held in September and the proceedings are now available online for all to view. The workshop focused on strategies for abating P losses to the aquatic environment. The scope of the workshop was holistic and comprised P cycling and P loss from agriculture, tools for predicting and mapping the risk of P loss, effectiveness of different mitigation options and the impact of P on the aquatic environment.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Science for Environment Policy

The DG Environment News Alert on new scientific evidence is a website designed to promote new, timely and relevant information for environmental policy making. An example is a recent paper by
Scholz G., Quinton J.N. and Strauss P. (2007) “Soil erosion from sugar beet in Central Europe in response to climate change induced seasonal precipitation variations” , Catena, doi:10.1016/j.catena.2007.04.005.

Monday, 8 October 2007

2007 National Conference on Agriculture & the Environment

The 2007 National Conference on Agriculture & the Environment is a consortium of university and private researchers, nonprofit organizations, and governmental agencies with an interest and expertise in agriculture and natural resource protection. The purpose of the conference is three-fold: (1) to highlight trends in data collection methodologies and data findings; (2) examine case studies in agricultural and environmental stewardship; and (3) foster the cross pollination of new ideas, technologies, and methodologies among leading resource protection professionals.
The conference will focus on the following main session topics:
• Water Quality Monitoring: Data, Methodology, Trends & Advancements
• Exemplary programs for agricultural water quality monitoring
• Watershed surface and ground water monitoring
• Monitoring for on-farm management practices and pollution prevention
• Monitoring for TMDLs, beneficial uses, ag waiver policies
• Trends in research methodology and findings
• Food Safety & Environmental Protection: Conflicts and Compatibilities
• Food safety research studies and findings
• Food safety policy: regulation, marketing, and agricultural practices
• Agricultural environmental policy
• Demonstrated conflicts between food safety and environmental protection
• Areas of compatibility between food safety and environmental protection
• Agricultural & Environmental Innovations
• Technological advancements
• Environmental compliance and permit coordination
• Conservation practices
• Water use efficiency
• Practice innovations
• Urban, rural, and agricultural outreach
• Case studies in Timber Management
• The Sustainability Factor: Exploring the nexus between agricultural and environmental sustainability
• Sustainability defined
• Local movements toward sustainability
• Business & economic implications of environmental protection
• Agricultural Interfaces: Exploring the interfaces between agriculture, natural resources, and local communities
• Agricultural & Urban interfaces
• Agricultural & Riparian/Slough/Wetland interfaces
• Conservation Easements
• Case studies in timber management
• Rangeland management and stewardship

NERC CASE PhD Studentship in Geography at Exeter

NERC CASE PhD Studentship in Geography

Dr Richard Brazier and Dr Andrew Nicholas along with Professor Phil Haygarth from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) will be supervising a NERC CASE award PhD starting in January 2008. The project aims both to further understanding and to develop a predictive tool of the dynamics of intensively managed grasslands and how they impact upon water quality. The research will employ field, laboratory and numerical modelling techniques to address this highly topical area of research. Further details of this opportunity can be found at:
Closing date for completed applications is 1st November 2007.

Friday, 5 October 2007

Science Theme Leaders: a great opportunity for you to become involved

One of our objectives at the Forming Workshop (19th September) was to map out themes to structure an initial review of the gaps and uncertainties of the evidence base. The combined themes from the breakout groups can be found here. We now require potential theme leaders to apply by 26th October 2007, click here for more details.

International Workshop: Agriculture, Water Management and Climate Change

As part of our water coordination activities for Defra we would like to invite you to register and submit an abstract for our international workshop. Further details including themes and confirmed keynote speakers can be found at
Closing date for registrations and abstract submission is 30th November 2007.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Post doc positions at Lancaster

Louise Heathwaite is advertising for two exciting new post doc positions at Lancaster University in CSWM - for more details click here

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

IWAM Forming Workshop 19th September 2007, Interview with Bob Evans (Anglia Ruskin University)

IWAM Forming Workshop 19th September 2007, Defra Science and Policy Requirements by Emma Hennessey (Defra)

IWAM Forming Workshop 19th September 2007, Introduction and Objectives by Kit Macleod (IGER)

IWAM Forming Workshop 19th September 2007, Welcome and Introduction by Phil Haygarth (IGER)

Integrating Water and Agricultural Management: Forming Workshop

We would like to thank the participants of our first workshop (19th September) for their valuable contributions and suggestions. Throughout the day high quality responses to the three questions we posed were provided (see below). If we are to make significant progress towards integrating how we manage our rural landscape and inland water bodies then ecologists, social and economic scientists need to be more involved along with more policy makers.

We will post the introductory presentations by Phil Haygarth (IGER), Kit Macleod (IGER) and Emma Hennessey (Defra) so that a wider set of researchers and science and policy staff at Defra can become more involved in Integrating Water and Agricultural Management (IWAM).

Three questions:
1) How to improve links between research scientists and Defra science and policy staff?
2) How could the evidence base be improved?
3) What themes can we use to review the evidence base?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN): annual conference

Sustainable Development Research Network
The Sustainable Development Research Network (SDRN) aims to contribute to sustainable development in the UK by encouraging the better use of evidence and research in policy-making. Membership of SDRN is free and open to all.

Annual Conference : Thursday 20th September 2007
Presentations online at:

Implementing sustainable development: progress and challenges
Industrial ecology
Placemaking and sustainable Development
Citizenship and behaviour change
Health and the environment

Thursday, 6 September 2007

The GRASP Workshop

Originally uploaded by wq0109
Yesterday the PE0120 'GRASP' team held their worskhop with 60 delagates attending from the worskhop. It was a successful and rewarding venture for the whole team and the details of the feedback, and some podcasts etc, will emerge in due course - meanwhile here are some snaps. Phil

International P Workshop

Originally uploaded by wq0109
We are currently at the international P workshop in the beautiful Lake District region of Silkebourg in Denmark. The meeting is very well organized and there are many new land water related issues that will be reported on in more detail in this blog in the weeks to come. Meanwhile here are some snaps of the excursion on the Lakes, with many images of the delagates - feel free to download. Phil

Friday, 31 August 2007

Potential increase in runoff due to plants and carbon dioxide

This weeks Nature is publishing a great step froward from Richard Betts and his team that eloquently model the links betwee carbon dioxide, plants and potential runoff. See:

Richard A. Betts, Olivier Boucher, Matthew Collins, Peter M. Cox, Peter D. Falloon, Nicola Gedney, Deborah L. Hemming, Chris Huntingford, Chris D. Jones, David M. H. Sexton & Mark J. Webb. Projected Increase in Continental Runoff Due to Plant Responses to Increasing Carbon Dioxide. Nature, 448(7157), 30 August 2007, pp. 1037-1041.

Source: Met Office Press Release (29 Aug):


Thursday, 30 August 2007

World Water Congress


The deadline for submissions of outline papers and full papers for the IWA World Water Congress is September 15th 2007. To ensure that your paper is considered for inclusion in the technical programme, submit your paper now via the Congress website.

The 2008 Congress will bring together 3,000 international water industry professionals to discuss the latest developments in sustainable water management and exchange knowledge on all aspects of the water cycle. The Congress is divided into six main themes and three further cross-cutting themes, for which papers are requested:

Congress Tracks

- Water resources and river basin management

- Water treatment

- Wastewater treatment

- Design and operation of water systems

- Managing and planning water services

- Health and the environment

Cross-Cutting Themes

- Climate change in practice: adaptively managing impacts on water

- The science and practice of sustainable development

- Managing urban water metabolism in cities in an IWRM context

For more information about Congress themes and topics and full guidelines for paper submission, please visit the Congress website:

Please note that submissions should only be sent via the Congress website. Unless prior agreement has been made with IWA, submissions made by email will not be considered for inclusion in the technical programme.

Lets' remember the science....

Nature 448 23 August 2007 p.839

An editorial published in Nature this week has questioned the increasing trend for governments, particularly in the UK and US, to consider the economic returns from investment in research, with a growing focus on competitiveness and stresses the need for scientists to continue to highlight the importance of basic research. This sounds like emminent sense to me and is very relevant for land and water science! We must not put the cart before the horse, whilst we need to realise outcomes these must not run ahead of investmenst in basic knwoledge. Outcomes only arise from basic knowledge.


Friday, 24 August 2007

Beacon from west Greenland

Originally uploaded by wq0109
This week I joined an expedition of biogeochemists to Kangerlussuaq in west Greenland. As a soil and water biogeochemist, who focuses for most of my time of the nutrient cycling issues surrounding intensively managed agricultural systems, it is both necessary and exciting to build an understanding of the biogeochemistry of more pristine systems of the world. My objectives this week are to build an nutrient inventory for two remote and contrasting lake catchments, and specifically to test the hypothesis that lake catchments grazed by Musk Ox (introduced within the last centenary) have different nutrient cycling properties than the more extensive systems grazed only by reindeer. More fundamentally these systems present a unique contrast to the more commonly studied intensively managed systems of the world, and may help us understand fundamental processes of nitrogen, carbon and phosphorus cycling, and provide context for a true ‘reference’ condition as we seek ‘good ecological status’ as part of the goals of the catchments in the EU Water Framework directive. On the expedition I am working with some terrific scientists from the UK and US, led inimitably by John Anderson from Loughborough (John is a lake expert who has been studying the west Greenland lakes for 15 years). We stayed both at the Kangerlussuaq International Science Support (KISS) centre and in tents and a selection of the photos from the week’s activities are available here Phil

Monday, 20 August 2007

Paper: Improved surface temperature prediction for the coming decade from a global climate model

Smith et al. (2007) Science, 317, 796-799, have published the results of a new modeling system that predicts both external forcings and internal variability leading to improved forecasts of climate in the next 10 years. Internal variability will partially offset anthropogenic warming until 2008/9. After this point, climate will continue to warm. Richard Kerr in the same issue of Science discusses the importance of natural climate variation e.g. Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) over the next few decades.

Monday, 13 August 2007

Report and Horizon scanning: Environment Research Funders' Forum

The Environment Research Funders' Forum (ERFF) brings together the UK's major public sector sponsors of environmental science, aiming to make best possible use of funding.
Report: 'Using Research to Inform Policy: the Role of Interpretation'
One reason why effective use of research by policy makers is not achieved is because of the challenges of interpretation. Effective interpretation requires that staff in government departments and agencies communicate their needs in a way that can be understood by researchers. Likewise, researchers and intermediaries are required to communicate information from their research in a way that can be used by these staff. This study examines how interpretation is provided for government departments and agencies in the UK. A useful set of recommendations and guidelines for good practice are provided that will improve integration at the science-policy divide if followed by the ERFF member organisations.
Horizon scanning study: 'dimensions of uncertainty'
Horizon scanning study on the most important 'dimensions of uncertainty' for the environment that may impact on the the UK in the next 20 years. If you would like to contribute please email

Monday, 6 August 2007

Consultation: proposed EU Soil Framework Directive

Defra and the devolved administrations are asking for your views on the proposed Framework Directive for Soils by 19th October 2007. I welcome the general thrust of the proposals that our soils require a higher level of protection than is currently afforded them under the current policies e.g SEA and CAP-cross compliance. Soil provides several critical ecosystem services that we benefit from directly and indirectly. Pressures on our soils are increasing due to economic development (e.g. housing, farming and tourism) and a changing climate. A proportional risk and precautionary based approach to managing our soils is required. We also need to be aware of the likely impacts and costs of any future policies. Kit.

'The European Commission adopted the Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection,
including proposals for a Framework Directive for Soils, in September 2006. The proposed Directive lays down a framework for the protection and sustainable use of soil based on the principles of integration of soil issues into other policies, preservation of soil functions within the context of sustainable use, prevention of threats to soil and mitigation of their effects, as well as restoration of degraded soils to a level of functionality consistent at least with the current and approved future use of the land.'

Purpose of consultation
'This consultation, issued jointly by Defra, the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government, is designed to assist us in developing a robust negotiating position to enable us to engage effectively in negotiations. It is important that our negotiating line is well-informed and based on sound evidence. Hence, we are seeking your views on the scope of the proposed Directive and its approach, as well as on the benefits that the proposed Directive may deliver and the likely costs of implementing it.'

'In general terms, your views are sought on the following initial questions:
  • What are your views on the current level of soil protection measures in the UK considering the risks and threats faced by soils, including those identified by the Commission?
  • If you consider these measures to be inadequate, do you believe that any gaps are best dealt with on a common basis across the EU, for example to avoid distortion in competition, or better dealt with at a domestic level?
  • What, if any, gaps exist in terms of addressing soil protection at an EU level in particular the risks identified by the Commission?
  • Does the solution to these gaps lie in amending existing EU Directives, or in introducing a new overarching framework for soil protection?
  • Are there any existing EU provisions that give some protection to soils which, in your view, do not work or which could do with simplification?
  • In terms of the risks and threats identified by the Commission, how urgent are these problems? Is there sufficient evidence to tackle them now?
  • Who should bear the costs involved in any new obligations? Should we follow a polluter pays approach, a market-based system where, for example, a property developer pays the cost of remediation, or should these costs fall to taxpayers?'

  • Consultation website

    Conference:IWA Watershed & River Basin Management Sept 2008

    IWA have a long history of organising valuable meetings on point and diffuse pollution and river basin management. The broad expertise of the programme committee, topical nature of the themes and interest to both process and policy focused scientists will result in a worthwhile international forum. Please see for more details. Call for abstracts closes on the 30th September 2007.

    Monday, 30 July 2007

    Virtual worlds aid education and research

    There is increasing interest in the educational and research potentials of computer based virtual worlds. These range from experimental virtual hillslopes (e.g. Weiler and McDonnell 2006, J. Hydrology 319, 339-356) to city scale urban hydrology (D'Artisa and Hellweger, 2007, Env. Mod. Soft 22, 1679-1684) to large online vitual worlds e.g. Second life ( Hydrologists are increasingly using virtual hillslopes to enable testing of model based hypotheses in combination with actual field observations. Leading to advances in understanding the primary controls on flow pathways and nutrient transport (Weiler and McDonnell 2006). Computer simulation games enable dynamic interaction between humans and increasingly 'realistic' environmental processes. D'Artisa and Hellweger (2007) reviewed the hydrology in the popular game SimCity 4. The simple hydrological process representations were found to provide a useful educational tool, but limited in their ability to provide a more robust science or planning tool. As computer games include more accurate and detailed representations of social and environmental processes then their value for learning and research will grow.

    In recent years there has been a rapid growth in virtual online worlds. These range from 'role playing' orientated games e.g. World of Warcraft to platforms that are more suited to educational and research possibilities e.g. Second life, Rivercity or Quest Atlantis. Interest in the economic and social sciences to make use of these possibilities is growing (Bainbridge, Science 2007, 317 (472-476)). There are over 8 million people registered with Second Life and a burgeoning number of companies e.g. IBM are making use of virtual worlds to host meetings and workshops. Scientists are also exploring the potential to set up virtual laboratories and carry out experiments that are not easily undertaken using more traditional research methologies.
    In the UK the rapid growth in access to internet broadband (40% of UK homes in 2006; has increased the bandwidth (amount of information that can be delivered in a given period of time) and latency (packet delivery speed) enabling the use of computer based simulations at home, at school and in the working environment for learning about how human activity influences water and land management. As these tools are further advanced and their use in further and higher education grows, we will find them an increasing part of our daily activities.

    Tuesday, 24 July 2007

    Soil and water....

    Originally uploaded by Phil Haygarth
    Whilst on a family trip to the seaside recently in Cornwall I came across this engraving on a stone at the side of the road. It seems a pertinent way to make my first posting to the Land Water blog. Water seems to be very much in the mainstream of the British way of life this week, with floods dominating the news and affecting the way we lead our lives. Water really matters, but so does the way we use our land. All is (indeed) "born of water" and all is (indeed) "sustained by water", but I also could say the same for the way we manage our soils. By integrating the two we hope to make a difference.....

    Friday, 20 July 2007

    Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution- Topics for future study

    A short list of topics have been released by the commission. These are:
    · Climate adaptation in the UK
    · Environment and human wellbeing
    · Geoengineering for climate change
    · Noise pollution
    · Phosphate management
    · Plastics and the environment
    · The electromagnetic environment
    · Water management

    Water management, phosphate management and climate adaptation in the UK strike an accord with this blogger and I for one will be making a suggestion based on this.

    The commission is looking for your comments and suggestions on which topic to study by Friday 24th August. These should be sent to: jon.freeman at

    Scientific Paper: A Changing Climate for Prediction

    Cox* and Stephenson (2007)

    Science 13th July 2007; Vol 317, Issue 5835, 207-208.

    p.m.cox at

    Current climate change models are designed to estimate long-term future greenhouse gas emission scenarios. These have been instrumental in convincing the world of the need to act. To inform climate change adaptation and mitigation policy these projections need to be redesigned. Adapatation policy is focussed on preparing for the inevitable climate change that will take place over the coming decades, whereas mitigation is used to refer to how policies can be used to avoid dangerous climate change over the longer term. Forecasting systems that enable active management of the world's climate are now required.

    Thursday, 19 July 2007

    CIWEM information resources on water and climate change

    CIWEM have released two introductory reports on water and climate change (

    Catchment Management: Land-use and Water

    Introduces catchment management, the pressures faced by land and water and highlights the need for an integrated approach to catchment management. Surveys show that integration between sectors e.g. agriculture and water resources, between science and management at different scales and between organisations to be a problem. Solutions they suggest include: making people aware of the benefits of integrated working, achnowleding and moving on from a 'silo mentality', commision more research on what works, spread best practice, improve our understanding of scale issues, set up more joint projects and networks and to move away from ad-hoc integration/communication. They conclude that there is widespread support for an integrated approach to land and water management and that key drivers e.g. agri-environment policies are helping to bring stakeholders together to solve local and larger scale problems.

    Climate Change Impacts

    An introductory document that sets out the main impacts that climate change will have on UK agriculture, biodiversity, energy, human health, poverty and water resources. The report authors conclude that since climate change will lead to greater uncertainty in climate prediction, this presents more of a threat than an opportunity.

    Up and running

    Our first newsletter is ready to be sent and the web portal is up and live! I love it when various threads of work come together.


    Wednesday, 11 July 2007

    Today Phil and I are off to visit Laura and Emma at Defra in London. I am excited to have the opportunity to tell them of our plans and to hear their feedback.


    Monday, 9 July 2007


    This is an exciting new web portal that aims to coordinate the activities of the sustainable water research community with those of Defra policy and science staff.

    As well as hosting this land water blog we will be holding workshops and setting up expert led working groups.

    Kit and Phil