Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Environmental sciences, Hydrology, Water resources, Civil engineering, Environmental and geological engineering

Publication Details

International Journal of Environmental Studies, Vol. 71, No. 4, pp 526-533.


The authors reviewed existing modelling platforms as part of a large study of water and pollution pathways through catchments in Ireland (Irish EPA Pathways project). Worldwide, work on producing catchment management tools (CMTs) has been underway for some time and some of the tools identified here date from as early as 1989. Some of the management problems and model conceptualisations have not changed very much but now there is a stronger emphasis on water quality and more concern about a wider range of contaminants. What has changed substantially is the use of Geographical Information System and Graphical Windows interfaces as technologies supporting a wider practical use of these tools. This review of existing CMTs identified three systems which would be candidates if a CMT had to be deployed immediately in Ireland. All have a rigid catchment model structure and lack the flexibility to include any new scientific information or flow-path conceptualisation that may emerge. The same modelling structure is used for all parts of the catchment, with spatial variation represented by parameter variation only and not variation in model structure. They also have rigid graphical user interfaces which cannot be tailored to match any specific requirements that may emerge from the pathways end-user workshops. Thus a CMT with a more flexible and accessible modelling structure is required if the results of current research are to be incorporated.