NRFA releases API to improve data access

The National River Flow Archive is the UK's focal point for river flow data. We collate, quality control and archive hydrometric data from gauging station networks across the UK including the extensive networks operated by the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the Department for Infrastructure - Rivers.

The National River Flow Archive Application Programming Interface (NRFA API) provides access to NRFA river flow data and metadata. Through the API a number of data types are available including; gauged daily flows, catchment daily rainfall and peak flow data. Also available is access to NRFA river flow gauging station information, including station metadata (the type of station, its location and key characteristics) and information about the station's catchment (land use, geology, climate, etc.).

There are approximately 1,500 gauging stations on the NRFA across the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. The data are readily accessible on our website however we wanted to make the data available via an API to enable innovation, encourage wider use of the data, and to assist our user community. The API enables rapid access to large numbers of datasets, and is designed primarily for programmers.

Access the API and its user guidance

Examples of use of the API in JavaScript and Python can be seen on the NRFA GitHub.

Examples for R will be available in future, but for novice R users we recommend the RNRFA package, which itself accesses NRFA data using the NRFA API

All of the data provided can also be manually downloaded, through a set of user-friendly web-pages, via the NRFA website, including an easy to use map-based search page. We recommend that non-programmers access NRFA data in this way.

We welcome any feedback or comments on the API, its utility and usage. Please send any comments or questions to