Rural land management practice is closely linked to the water environment, being a major source of phosphorus, nitrogen, sediment, pesticides, ammonia, faecal indicator and organisms to our rivers and other water bodies as well as impacting on catchment hydrology (including floods and droughts).
A large range of catchment methods have been implemented or are being considered in river basin management in order to help us achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive. As yet we have a poor understanding of how use of these methods will enhance or inhibit our resilience to changes in temperature and rainfall seasonality and intensity due to global warming.
Cascade Consulting were commissioned by the Environment Agency to produce, based on robust evidence, a user manual for building climate resilience into our river basin management through land management methods. As such, a key element was to integrate climate change into our river basin management under the Water Framework Directive.
Based on a combination of literature review, expert elucidation and modelling, the project assessed the robustness of the range of rural catchment management methods available to achieve the objectives of the Water Framework Directive at the catchment scale.