Catchment data explorer help page

The Catchment Data Explorer

The Catchment Data Explorer is designed to help you explore and download information about the water environment used in River Basin Management Plans

You can find catchments and water bodies of interest using a map, or by searching for names, view summary information about catchments, download data and follow links to other useful sites.

There are links in the banner on every page to the useful links, glossary and help pages. You can also report problems or ask questions about the site via the Noticed a problem? link.

Catchment Data Explorer page banner

Figure 1 - Catchment Data Explorer page banner

Finding catchments and water bodies

You use the map, the links in the table to the right of the map, or the search bar to find the catchments or water bodies you are interested in.

Using the map

Click an item on the map, to view data about it, and to drill down through the tiers of catchments to water body level. Hovering the pointer over a feature displays its name.

Pan and zoom using the map controls; clicking and dragging on the background pans the map and rolling the mouse wheel zooms the map in and out.

Interactive map of River Basin Districts

Figure 2 - Interactive map of River Basin Districts

The links in the table to the right of the map on the homepage also allow you to navigate to the river basin district pages, in the same way as clicking on the map.

Search for catchments and water bodies

Use the search boxes to search for river basin districts, management catchments, operational catchments and water bodies by either

  • place name
  • postcode
  • coordinates (latitude and longitude and easting and northing), or
  • the name of the catchment or water body.
  • local authority
Search boxes that set what you want to search by, and what you want to search for

Figure 3 - Search boxes that set what you want to search by, and what you want to search for

TIP: Copying and pasting URLs allows you to share your search results.

TIP: Navigate directly to a water body if you know its Water Body ID by constructing a URL in the following format: http://environment.data.gov.uk/catchment-planning/WaterBody/[WaterbodyID] For example http://environment.data.gov.uk/catchment-planning/WaterBody/GB106040018290

The catchment hierarchy

The data is organised around a catchment hierarchy, where the larger units contain 1 or many of the smaller units. This runs largest to smallest as follows:

River Basin District > Management Catchment > Operational catchment > Water body

For example:

Thames > Cotswold and the Vale > Upper Thames > Thames (Kemble to Waterhay Bridge)

Diagram showing the hierarchy of River Basin Districts (RBD), management catchments (MC), operational catchments (OC), and water bodies (WB)

Figure 4 - Diagram showing the hierarchy of River Basin Districts (RBD), management catchments (MC), operational catchments (OC), and water bodies (WB)

Catchment Summaries

Catchment summary button

Figure 5 - Catchment summary button

Click the summary button on the River Basin District, Management Catchment and Operational Catchment pages to see a brief description of the catchment, a photo and summary statistics about the water bodies within it.

Data searches

You can search for classifications, objectives and reasons for not achieving good status from the Operational Catchment pages.

Classification search button

Figure 6 - Classification search button

Search for water bodies with classifications that match your search criteria. You can select from 1 or many of the levels in the classification hierarchy using the check boxes. The number of options selected at each level are shown by the numbers in brackets.

Pick the status categories you are interested in from the status box

Selection boxes for a classification search

Figure 7 - Selection boxes for a classification search

Where a classification status value is underlined in the classification search results table, clicking it will open associated reasons for not achieving good, or reasons for deterioration data

Results table for a classification search

Figure 8 - Results table for a classification search

Objectives search button

Figure 9 - Objectives search button

The objectives search works in the same way as the classification search, using the same classification hierarchy.

Objectives and predicted outcomes explained

- Water body status objectives

For surface waters, objectives are set for ecological and chemical status. For artificial or heavily modified water bodies, objectives are set for ecological potential and chemical status. For groundwater, objectives are set for quantitative and chemical status.

Water body objectives consist of 2 pieces of information: the status (for example, good) and the date by which that status is planned to be achieved (for example, by 2021).

The status part of an objective is based on a prediction of the future status that would be achieved if technically feasible measures are implemented and, when implemented, would produce more benefits than they cost. The objective also takes into account the requirement to prevent deterioration and achieving protected area objectives.

The date part of an objective is the year by which the future status is predicted to be achieved. The date is determined by considering whether the measures needed to achieve the planned status are currently affordable, and once implemented, the time taken for the ecology or the groundwater to recover.

The water body objectives are:

  • 'x' status by 2015: 2015 status matches the predicted future status or potential. Here the predicted future status has already been achieved and no further improvement in status is expected. The main environmental objective is to prevent deterioration in status between 2015 and 2021.
  • 'x' status by 2021: there is confidence that as a result of the programme of measures, the water body will improve from its 2015 status or potential to achieve the predicted future status by 2021. The 'by 2015' date has been used to clearly distinguish water bodies and elements where the reported 2015 status matches the predicted future status (and so no further improvement is expected), from water bodies and elements where an improvement from the reported 2015 status is required to achieve the predicted future status by 2021.
  • 'x' status by 2027: the deadline for achieving the status or potential has been extended to 2027. Where the time extension is due to ecological or groundwater recovery time, there is confidence that the measures needed to achieve the improvement in status are already in place or will be in place by 2021. Where the time extension is due to practical constraints delaying implementation of the measures, there is confidence the process of implementing the measures will begin before 2021. For the remaining objectives with a 2027 date, there is currently not enough confidence that the improvement in status can be achieved by an earlier date.
  • 'x' status by 2040 or 'x' status by 2050 or 'x' status by 2060: the deadlines for achieving the planned status or potential have only been extended beyond 2027 where either ecological recovery time or groundwater recovery time will delay the achieving of the planned status. In these cases there is confidence that the measures needed to achieve the improvement in status are already in place or will be in place by 2021.

Where the status is less than good, this means that a less stringent objective has been set.

- Predicted outcomes (2021 and 2027)

A predicted outcome is the predicted future status for an element (or water body) in 2021 and in 2027. Predicted outcomes were made using a series of rules or 'planning assumptions'. The predicted outcomes for 2021 and for 2027 were used to derive the status objective for an element or water body.

If the predicted outcome for 2021 is an improvement in status compared to the status in 2015, this prediction is based on confidence that:

  • the measures necessary to achieve the improvement will happen by 2021
  • the location of the measures and the water bodies that will benefit are known
  • the change in element status will occur as a result of the measures

Confidence in this context means there is at least a reasonable expectation (more confident than not) that the measures will happen and the outcome will be met.

Refining search results

Use the filter box above the search results table to refine the results. The filter works on whole or partial words, and finds any occurrence in any part of the table. Separating search terms with a space searches across multiple columns. This filter is NOT applied to the data that can be downloaded using the links on the page.

Results table for an objectives search

Figure 10 - Results table for an objectives search

Classification hierarchy

Classifications are arranged according to the classification hierarchy, below. The type of water body will dictate what types of classification elements are assessed within it.

  • Overall water body status of potential
    • ecological, chemical or quantitative status (e.g. ecological)
      • Component (e.g. biological quality elements)
        • Element (e.g. fish)

For example:

Overall Status > ecology > biology > fish

Surface waters classification hierarchy

Classification hierarchy for surface waters

Figure 11 - Classification hierarchy for surface waters

Groundwaters classification hierarchy

Classification hierarchy for groundwaters

Figure 12 - Classification hierarchy for groundwaters

Status classes - Surface waters

Status classifications used for surface waters

Figure 13 - Status classifications used for surface waters

Status classes - Groundwaters

Status classifications used for groundwaters

Figure 14 - Status classifications used for groundwaters

Status description

Status description

Figure 15 - Status classifications used for groundwaters

Classification methods statements

Detailed methods statements for surface water classifications can be found here and for Groundwaters here.

Surface water chemical classifications - reasons for reported improvements in 2015 cycle 2 data

The chemical status classifications in 2015 for cycle 2 can be quite different to those in cycle 2 for 2013 and 2014. These changes are explained by:

  • Chemical status is determined by assessing compliance with environmental standards for chemicals that are listed in the Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) Directive (2008/105/EC) as amended by the Priority Substances Directive 2013/39/EU. Good Chemical Status is achieved if every EQS is met: a single EQS failure means Good Status for the water body cannot be achieved. You can find the amended Environmental Quality Standards Directive here: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex:32013L0039
  • EQS that have been set in biota have not yet been used to assess good status. Applying these biota standards may significantly affect Good Chemical Status in the future. However, exploratory work is first needed to find a robust approach to implement biota standards. This will ensure we can be confident about classification decisions and the action required. In addition to utilising long-term data sets from the marine environment, the Environment Agency has undertaken a pilot monitoring programme for these substances at selected freshwater sites. A preliminary assessment of data from freshwater sites over 2014-15 and transitional and coastal water datasets indicate that most substances would comply with their biota EQSs. However, we are predicting significant and widespread failures in the future for some chemicals which are highly regulated or banned, notably mercury and brominated flame retardants.
  • The Environment Agency has developed 'chemical narratives' for the pollutants of most significance to England. These bring together information on emissions, risk assessments, trends and monitoring (in the water column and where available in biota). These provide a more in depth assessment of the current state of knowledge of these chemicals.
Reasons for not achieving good status search button

Figure 16 - Reasons for not achieving good status search button

Classification elements that are less than good status can have "reasons for not achieving good status" or RNAGs assigned to them. Where an element has deteriorated (i.e. the status is thought to be getting worse), reasons for deterioration, or RFDs, may be assigned.

An RNAG or RFD records the source, activity and sector involved in causing an element to be at less than good status.

Use the reasons for not achieving good search to find corresponding RNAGs and RFDs in an operational catchment. The filters can be used to select RNAGs and RFDs for particular classification elements, and to filter by pressure (applies to RNAGs and RFDs for biological elements only), SWIMI (Significant Water Management Issue), activity, category and business sector.

Reasons for not achieving good search filterss

Figure 17 - Reasons for not achieving good search filters

Measures

Measures are the actions which will be taken on the ground to help achieve Water Framework Directive objectives. They are brought about by a range of legal, policy or financial mechanisms and involve numerous sectors.

Catchment Data Explorer contains only the measures which have been used to predict improvements in status by 2021 for specific elements in specific water bodies.

These measures are part of the main programmes of measures for 2021 outcomes, described in section 3.3 of Part 1 of the river basin management plan.

There are other measures which will happen by 2021 but there is not enough confidence (in location or scale of improvement) to predict specific outcomes. These measures are not currently in the Catchment Data Explorer but can be viewed on the Environment Agency's ShareFile service (https://ea.sharefile.com/d-sabbd14301a44d5e9).

Measures are based on best available information, and specific measures are subject to change. There may be opportunities over the next few years to protect and improve the local water environment using different measures to those listed. Change will also occur for a variety of reasons including, new evidence, changes in water body status, funding availability, government policy changes, development impacts and climate change.

Measures search button

Figure 18 - Measures search button

Data downloads

Download the results of the classifications, reasons for not achieving good, and objectives search as Comma Separated Value (CSV) text files. These are suitable for use in most spreadsheet programs. It is also possible to download these datasets for a whole river basin district, management catchment or operational catchment, without having to conduct a search.

Data download links

Figure 19 - Data download links

Detailed Water body page

For each water body, there is a detailed water body page.

Use the drop down arrows to change the years of classification data displayed

Dropdown boxes used to select the years that data is shown from on the water body page

Figure 20 - Dropdown boxes used to select the years that data is shown from on the water body page

The default view is like this:

Default view of water body classification table

Figure 21 - Default view of water body classification table

Click the arrows to at the left hand side of each row to expand the table and view more of the classification hierarchy, down to element level:

Expanded rows in the water body classification table

Figure 22 - Expanded rows in the water body classification table

Classification statuses that are underlined are links to pages that show the associated reasons for not achieving good status.

Hover the pointer over underlined objectives to display any justifications for alternative objectives.

View alternative objectives and reasons if water bodies are not at good ecological status or potential

Figure 23 - View alternative objectives and reasons if water bodies are not at good ecological status or potential

Linked Protected Areas

On the water body pages the linked protected areas table shows the different types of protected area that are associated with water bodies. The list of protected areas table provides more detail. Clicking on any underlined entries in the PA name and the more information columns link to other sources of information on the protected area in question, for example opening Natural England's Designated Sites viewer.

The links between protected areas and water bodies are downloadable as .csvs from the water body pages and the River Basin District, Management Catchment and Operational Catchment pages.

Protected Areas associated with the water body

Figure 24 - Protected Areas associated with the water body

What is Open Data?

Open data is data that's available to everyone to access, use and share. Want to know more, see what is open data and why should we care?

Open data from the Environment Agency is often made available under the Open Government Licensing Framework and the version of the Open Government Licence that is current at the time of issue.

Linked Data API Documentation

Can I use an Application Programming Interface (API)* to access the data?
Yes, access via an Application Programming Interface (API)* is available. The API is linked through the explorer or by typing the URI or a resource directly into a browser. When viewing a resource using the explorer tab, for example 'Rye' operational catchment, a separate link to the data URL is always provided.

*An Application Programming Interface (API) is a set of programming instructions that allows other software developers to build their own services using a standard set of data or processes. Building a system that uses Environment Agency Catchment Planning API ensures it always uses the definitive environment data referencing framework.

When browsing through webpages of Catchment Data Explorer, links of Data URLs are provided linking back to the underlying Linked Data API resources. The explorer is meant to provide users with a visually appealing representation of Catchment Data, while through the Linked Data API users can browse/download the data in multiple formats as:

  • RDF/XML
  • RDF/JSON
  • Turtle
  • Simple JSON
  • Simple XML
  • HTML

To illustrate the above scenario, navigating to Anglian (River Basin District), users are able to access the corresponding data URL and navigate to the data-centric view of the resource.

Endpoints available through the Linked Data API (alongside examples) include both list and individual resources:

API icon

Links to API pages are indicated by this icon.