History

The provision of peak flow data by the NRFA commenced in April 2014. Prior to this date, this information was provided by other initiatives. A brief overview is provided below.

2014-Present: National River Flow Archive

In April 2014, responsibility for the provision of UK national flood peak data was transferred to the National River Flow Archive, maintained by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in close collaboration with the UK hydrometric Measuring Authorities. Provision of flood peak data is being fully integrated with the NRFA’s existing services for daily and monthly mean flow data.

2004-2014: HiFlows-UK

Between 2004 and 2014 UK flood peak data were provided via the HiFlows-UK website, hosted on the Environment Agency’s website. HiFlows-UK was a partnership between the UK Measuring Authorities – the Environment Agency in England and Wales, SEPA in Scotland and the Rivers Agency in Northern Ireland. In 2001, the project was awarded a grant from HM Treasury's Capital Modernisation Fund (CMF). The HiFlows-UK data were an updated and enhanced version of the data contained in Volume 3 of the FEH, increasing the data available by 40%. HiFlows-UK contained significantly more data than the FEH dataset, incorporating the results of subsequent data reviews to improve data quality, and additional information on each station, including the indicative suitability of the data. The data and website was initially released as a pilot for testing and feedback on both the website functionality and data in March 2004. The first full version of the WINFAP-FEH data (version 1.1) were released on 1 August 2005 and the last version released under the HiFlows-UK project (version 3.3.2) were released in April 2014. JBA Consulting carried out a number of updates to the HiFlows-UK database between 2004 and 2014 and facilitated the v2.1.1, v3.02, v3.1.2 and v3.3.2 releases.

1999: Flood Estimation Handbook

The HiFlows-UK dataset superseded the FEH Flood Peak Dataset provided with Volume 3 of the Flood Estimation Handbook (Institute of Hydrology, 1999), and that included with version 1.0 of the WINFAP-FEH program supplied by CEH. The Flood Estimation Handbook was published by CEH Wallingford in 1999, and included flow data that finished in or before water year 1993/1994.

1991: Institute of Hydrology

Further major updates to both peaks-over-threshold and annual maximum flood peak data, begun at the Institute of Hydrology (IH) in April 1985 under Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food funding, were completed in October 1991 (Bayliss & Jones, 1993). The database contained over 77,000 peaks from 859 gauging stations throughout the UK, ending in or before 1990.

1978: Water Data Unit

Following publication of the Flood Studies Report in 1975, a second phase of extraction began at the Department of the Environment's Water Data Unit (WDU) in 1978, as a number of new stations had the minimum requirement of three years of data, and many of the records on the database were extended up to September 1973.

1975: Flood Studies Report

Instantaneous flood peaks for over 550 gauging stations were published in Volume IV for the Flood Studies Report (NERC, 1975) along with tabulated catchment characteristics and flood statistics. This dataset was the culmination of a huge collation, appraisal, extraction and processing exercise by the FSR research team.

All the gauging stations used in the study were visited and graded according to the suitability of the site for flood measurement. Charts from suitable stations were micro filmed to enable the extraction of data to be carried out more easily and also to provide a permanent and accessible record. Rating curve information was collected at the time of visit and subsequently reviewed to ensure that the most appropriate stage-discharge relationship was used.