What are Demonstration Test Catchments?
Defra's Demonstration Test Catchment (DTC) project is investigating solutions to the long standing problem of diffuse pollution and its impact on water quality in agricultural landscapes. It is concentrating 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 will do three things. Firstly, it will receive data collected from the three test catchments. Secondly, it will store 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 being 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 is 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.
Once the DTC Archive team has a clear understanding of the types of data and their potential uses, we will be able to improve searches by identifying specific words and phrases (‘vocabularies') that can be used to link different data types. The entire process is web-based, using specially designed portals to facilitate input and output of data. The data provided will be connected, where appropriate, to supporting information (such as summaries, interpretations and information from other sites and sources) to enable better understanding of its meaning and relevance to users.
When the Archive is established, various activities will be organised for researchers and stakeholders, in order to demonstrate the new techniques and to raise awareness of the work being done, the results and the content of the Archive.
How it works
The DTC Archive project will take four years to complete. It is divided into 11 Work Packages (WPs). A detailed description of each of these is accessible via the drop down menu on this page. Currently, these are presented as they were written in the original technical proposal. As the project develops, updates will be provided on progress.
How you can help
At various stages in the project, we will be seeking inputs from different end users and those interested in the Archive and its role. For the moment, if you have any questions or comments on the work we are doing or the content of this website, please let us know.
The Defra Greenhouse Gas Platform
The DTC Archive will also be compatible and interoperable 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.