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What are Demonstration Test Catchments?

Defra's Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) project investigates solutions to the long standing problem of diffuse pollution and its impact on water quality in agricultural landscapes. It concentrates research in three river systems (the Eden [Cumbria], Hampshire Avon and Wensum [Norfolk]), with intensive monitoring of the environment and testing of different mitigation measures. These are referred to as demonstration test catchments because the ideas that are being tested will provide valuable information which can then be applied to other sites around the country.

The role of the Data Archive

The Data Archive for the three DTCs does three things. Firstly, it receives data collected from the three test catchments. Secondly, it stores the data in an Archive so that it is secure long after the research projects are complete. Thirdly, it will ensure that the data stored is easily accessible by all those with an interest in the catchments, including researchers, local residents, farmers, conservation groups, planners and policy makers.

The DTC Archive is developed by the Freshwater Biological Association (FBA) and King's College London (KCL). The FBA is experienced in environmental data archiving, while KCL has key skills in developing processes for handling and using electronic data.

What the Archive team is doing

The DTC Archive team is working to ensure that the data can be added, searched and accessed easily. The data being gathered are of many types, including water chemistry, hydrological information, weather records, ecological data and ‘soft data' (such as photographic and video images and subjective assessments). The Archive will link interrelated components of this diverse collection so that users will be able to find a wide range of relevant information in response to search queries.

How it works

The DTC Archive project took four years to complete (2010-14). It was divided into 11 Work Packages (WPs). As detailed in the project's final report (currently being written).

The Defra Greenhouse Gas Platform

The DTC Archive will also be compatible and inter-operable with the data generated by the GHG plaform. The DTC Archive project will be working closely with the GHG platform over the course of the project.

You can download the original project bid document submitted to Defra here.