UK lowland river chemistry

Chemical analysis of stream, river and rainfall samples was performed for lowland rivers in the UK. The data are uncensored and provide a basis for research purposes, and must be viewed in this light. Information on analytical methodologies is also available, including detection limits, from which the user can choose how the data might be interpreted. The basins studied were the Tweed, Wear, Humber, Great Ouse and Thames. One tributary (the Teviot) and two main-stem sites were monitored in the Tweed Catchment. One site around two-thirds down the catchment of the River Wear was monitored. Humber Basin Monitoring was undertaken for all the tributaries especially near their downstream limits. The Great Ouse was monitored around half way down the catchment. The Thames catchment was monitored upstream and downstream of sewage inputs to the river, prior and post effluent stripping of phosphorus. This work formed part of a major UK initiative introduced in the early 1990s, the Land Ocean Interaction Study, LOIS, to examine water, chemical and sediment fluxes from the eastern UK rivers to the North Sea. The entire LOIS core monitoring data, including a wider range of determinands, is available from EIDC. As part of this and subsequent work, the initiative was extended to examine a range of catchment basins, from rural to agricultural and industrial/urban impacted ones.

Publication date: 2010-12-31


Study area
Temporal extent
1993-09-07    to    2009-10-27

Supplemental information

Other useful information regarding this dataset:

Neal, C., Bowes, M., Jarvie, H. P., Scholefield, P., Leeks, G., Neal, M., Rowland, P., Wickham, H., Harman, S., Armstrong, L., Sleep, D., Lawlor, A. and Davies, C. E. (2012), Lowland river water quality: a new UK data resource for process and environmental management analysis. Hydrol. Process., 26: 949-960.
Colin Neal, Phil Rowland, Paul Scholefield, Colin Vincent, Clive Woods, Darren Sleep, The Ribble/Wyre observatory: Major, minor and trace elements in rivers draining from rural headwaters to the heartlands of the NW England historic industrial base, Science of The Total Environment, Volume 409, Issue 8, 15 March 2011, Pages 1516-1529, ISSN 0048-9697.

Provenance & quality

Water quality was monitored for eastern UK rivers (Tweed and Humber) as part of the Land Ocean Interaction Study, LOIS, in the early 1990s. Subsequently, the monitoring was transferred to the Wear, Great Ouse and most extensively to the Thames Basin and for the latter, rainfall was also measured . The chemical analysis undertaken within the LOIS programme was undertaken within CEH laboratories at Wallingford (then Institute of Hydrology), Ferry House (Institute of Freshwater Ecology, Windermere) and associated CEH laboratories at York and Stirling. The later analysis was undertaken by the CEH Wallingford Laboratories with phosphorus data for the Wear was measured in collaboration with Professor Brian Whitton at the University of Durham. All data collated by Colin Neal of CEH Wallingford

Correspondence/contact details

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic categories
Acreman Section Analytical chemistry,  CEH Water Programme,  Environmental monitoring facilities Hydrochemistry,  Nitrogen Phosphorus rainfall,  River,  Time Series United Kingdom Water quality Water Resources