Investigating the impact of Northumbrian Water assets on ecosystems and hydrology

We worked with Northumbrian Water to carry out a series of investigations exploring the impacts their assets have on the ecology, hydromorphological processes and flow functionality of downstream watercourses. We provided fifteen reports outlining the findings of our investigations and potential mitigation options.


Northumbrian Water possesses a number of assets, including catchwater structures and reservoirs. They are required to investigate options to mitigate the impacts of these assets and deliver demonstrable improvements under the Water Framework Directive (working towards Good Ecological Potential). Many of these assets serve other key functions relating to water supply, flood risk, and power generation and so a need to balance these functions is critical.


We carried out ecological, hydrological and geomorphological investigations to improve our understanding of the current whole-system functioning, enabling us to identify the key pressures within each system. Using this information we identified potential options which were then assessed using multi-criteria analysis. To evaluate the impact of each option on geomorphology, fisheries, cost, carbon and sustainability, water resources and flood risk.

Sites requiring a fish passage solution were further assessed using the Environment Agency Cost Benefit Tool to determine the Net Present Value (NPV) and Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) of different fish passage options.


We provided fifteen short, digestible reports which outlined the findings of our investigations and presented potential mitigation options. These options were assessed against multiple criteria and preferred options were identified. Recommendations were made detailing the next steps required to implement the proposed options. The options for different sites encompassed in-channel habitat improvement works, modifications to existing compensation releases and fish passage solutions.

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Want to know more?

Contact Luke Hussey or David Mould for more information on this project.


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