National and International Role

The archive serves a wide user community both in the United Kingdom and overseas, incorporating water management professionals, scientific researchers, educational users, the media, national government bodies and international organizations.

The NRFA regularly provides data updates, summary information and reports to such organisations as the WMO Global Runoff Data Centre, the European Environment Agency, Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities), OECD (the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), and the OSPAR Commission. This enables users worldwide to access recent flow records and providing associated metadata which are vital to ensuring that the data stored in large-scale depositories are fit for purpose.

National Statistics

The NRFA provides assistance and advice to several parts of the UK Government in relation to national and international reporting requirements for hydrological statistics.  Much of the data and statistics provided capitalise on the NHMP and offer Government Departments and Agencies independent assessments of water resources and other hydrological statistics at a national scale.  Examples of some of the areas where the NRFA provides data and advice can be found in the below table.


Seasonal outflow and rainfall estimates for the UK

Office for National StatisticsRegional and Country Environment Profiles
Environment Agency/CefasAnnual Report on the Status of Salmon Stocks in England and Wales for International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES)

International Data Provision

The NRFA provides the UK input into a number of international hydrological data sharing initiatives, including the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Runoff Data Centre based at the Federal Institute of Hydrology (Koblenz, Germany) and the European Water Archive (EWA).  The EWA is a central feature of the European element of the FRIEND (Flow Regimes from International Experimental and Network Data) programme, a cross-cutting programme of the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of UNESCO.  Through the GRDC, a sub-set of the UK flow data (representing the largest freshwater fluxes to the oceans) has been made available to the Global Terrestrial Network for River Discharge (which forms part of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) and GTN-Hydrology).