Land, soil and water are intimately linked in the environment. Water is essential for terrestrial ecosystems and agricultural production; land cover and land use impact profoundly on the health of aquatic ecosystems and resources; and soils strongly affect hydrological, agricultural and biogeochemical processes. Thus, to find effective and sustainable solutions, we must consider the interactions between environmental processes and human activity at the catchment scale, which is the area of land that drains to a river (i.e. watershed or basin).

The Catchment Management Group in the Centre for Water, Environment and Development uses a whole systems perspective to understand the interdependencies between water management, agricultural systems, and aquatic ecosystems. The group's research combines approaches and methods from environmental sciences, engineering, geomorphology, ecology and social sciences. Strengths lie in the assessment and modelling of the impacts of climate and socio-economic change on water resources for agriculture and hydropower, integrated analysis of river systems to support sustainable management and restoration, and the development of new governance models and policy for environmental management and agricultural support policy.

The collegial group has strong links nationally and internationally and works closely with colleagues across the School of Water, Energy and Environment, especially those in the Cranfield Environment Centre and the Crop-Soil-Water Systems and Soil Systems groups.

Research areas

  • Water resource systems modelling
  • Water-energy-food nexus
  • Drought and climate risk management
  • Natural capital and ecosystem services
  • Fluvial geomorphology
  • Aquatic ecology
  • Peatland hydrology and management

Recent research publications

Harrison PA, Beauchamp K, Cooper J, Dickie I, Fitch A, Gooday R, Hollaway M, Holman IP, Hunt M, Jones L, Mondain-Monval T, Sandars D, Siriwardena G, Seaton F, Smart S, Thomas A, West B, Whittaker F, Carnell E, Matthews RW, Neupauer S, Saraev V, Scheffler J, Trembath P, Vieno M, Williams AC & Dunford RW (2023) An adaptable integrated modelling platform to support rapidly evolving agricultural and environmental policy, Environmental Modelling & Software, 169 (November) Article No. 105821.

Shin J, Grabowski R & Holman I (2023) Indicators of suspended sediment transport dynamics in rivers, Hydrology Research, 54 (8) 978-994.

Gilbert J, Soliev I, Robertson A, Vermeylen S, Williams NW & Grabowski RC (2023) Understanding the Rights of Nature: working together across and beyond disciplines, Human Ecology, 51 (3) 363-377.

Momblanch A, Kelkar N, Braulik G, Krishnaswamy J & Holman IP (2022) Exploring trade-offs between SDGs for Indus River Dolphin conservation and human water security in the regulated Beas River, India, Sustainability Science, 17 (4) 1619-1637.

Grabowski RC, Vercruysse K, Holman I, Azhoni A, Bala B, Shankar V, Beale J, Mukate S, Poddar A, Peng J & Meersmans J (2022) The land-river interface: a conceptual framework of environmental process interactions to support sustainable development, Sustainability Science, Available online 13 May 2022.

Dau QV, Momblanch A & Adeloye AJ (2021) Adaptation by Himalayan water resource system under a sustainable socioeconomic pathway in a high-emission context, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 26 (3) Article No. 04021003.

Cranfield gave me the opportunity to undertake a research project in freshwater ecology, involving field work and research with an applied scope by giving practitioner advice. This was interesting and the start of adventure in the United Kingdom.

Mickael Dubois, former PhD student