Temporary rivers are rivers that cease to flow for intermittent periods of time. These rivers are ecologically important and under pressure, but they are not well understood or protected.
Temporary rivers are hydrologically dynamic and ecologically diverse because they provide a range of habitats as they transition between terrestrial and aquatic states. However, despite being under pressure both from local artificial influences and climate change, they are widely underrepresented in monitoring networks, mapping, river characterisation, protective legislation and drought and water resource assessment tools.
The ASTRID project
The aim of the ASTRID project was to identify useful metrics and develop models to provide a national picture of hydrological intermittence in the UK. Using statistical modelling, the ASTRID project team at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) aimed to improve the understanding of temporary rivers, and of their distribution and characteristics.
The work conducted by the project team fed into a number of peer-reviewed publications in Hydrological Processes, OIKOS, the Hydrological Sciences Journal, and Water. The project team engaged regulatory decision-makers to identify useful metrics, promote resource-efficient monitoring, discuss mapping results and seek views on the next steps for appropriate drought and water resource assessment. This work will ultimately help stakeholders in the development of monitoring and assessment strategies for temporary rivers.
For more information on the project, see the accompanying page at the UKRI Gateway to Research