The NRFA is mandated by UK government (Defra) and the devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to maintain and provide access to a comprehensive database of the country’s river flows and provide information on water resources nationally. The NRFA integrates national hydrometric data from partners in the UK measuring agencies and provides long-term stewardship for national hydrometric data assets.
The NRFA data underpin much of the hydrological research and water resources development and management activity in the UK. Peak flow datasets provided by the archive form the basis of UK industry standard flood frequency estimates for planning and development purposes.
The NRFA exists to provide not only a central database and retrieval service but also to promote best-practice in hydrometric monitoring and provide an extra level of data validation.
The NRFA is complemented by the National Hydrological Monitoring Programme (NHMP), which provides authoritative commentary on current hydrological conditions and the status of water resources.