Steve Ormerod

Steve Ormerod

Prof Steve Ormerod is among the world's leading applied freshwater ecologists. He researches global change effects on rivers, lakes and wetlands, and is involved heavily in environmental policy.

Location Cardiff


  • Welcome Mulenga, and thanks for your important work in catchment protection

  • Welcome Marianne

  • 400 trees! Fantastic work, Rosetta, and welcome

  • Hi Gerrie: I hope we can help you

  • Hi India: we look forward to your contributions!

  • Hello Elisabet: I think you may even see some examples from S Africa in the course. Welcome!

  • Welcome William

  • Welcome Nastaran!

  • Thanks for joining, Trevor

  • @OwenJones Welcome Owen! Look forward to learning what you can teach us about rainfall-runoff models under extreme conditions!

  • @LeeScott Welcome Lee: there are some items on extreme events and climate change a few sessions down the line...

  • Hi Maria. I've been watching with horror and disbelief the tragedy of the Murray Darling from here in the UK. A huge river system with huge problems. I hope we can help give you a wider context for thinking about it

  • @AnneLüneburg And it's certainly a challenge! Welcome Anne

  • Hi Kathleen: we have some sections on ecosystems and environmental issues further into the course. Good luck!

  • Welcome David: great to see so much commitment!

  • Welcome again, Cerian

  • Tremendous motivation, Louise: so many of the solutions to our environmental problems are linked. Plastic, water, carbon, nature...

  • Thanks for this Richard: the UK has a huge disparity between supply and demand - yet fixing that disparity will come with substantial economic and environmental costs

  • We'll do our best to broaden your horizons, Hateem! Welcome

  • Hi Katie: I hope we can extend your knowledge!

  • Welcome Kunda!

  • @PhilipBurton One of the issues is in generating the evidence - at large scales - that natural flood management will do enough to reduce the worst flood peaks: here's what a group of senior UK hydrologists and catchment managers put together recently

    Hope you find it useful. SJO

  • Thanks, both, for this very positive feedback

  • Thanks Phillip: I think the Lead Educator (who is from Burnley) would agree :) SJO

  • Thanks for these comments Debra: you should pick up some of these themes as you work through this week's material. The balance between industrial (usually from specific or 'point' sources) and agricultural pollution (often from more 'diffuse' sources) is an interesting one: is some geographical locations, there have been major improvements in the treatment...

  • Thanks Roy: there are parallels with our situation also in Wales, and a long-standing debate on whether we could transfer more water to the S East of England via the Wye, Severn and Thames. The benefits could be in supplying demands from people agriculture in the lowland east, but the risks are in mixing/trading water from different sources without...

  • Thanks Phillip. There's some suggestion, too, that it's sometimes important infrastructure or facilities that would be at risk in flood plains (airports, hospitals, care homes and the like..) were it not for flood risk management. Interesting to see how natural flood management (using catchment tree planting, moorland ditch blocking etc) is coming up the...

  • Thanks Derek: you'll see some material on all of these themes in the week ahead.

  • @PaulStewart Thanks Paul: the Rivers Trusts are becoming very effective actors and advocates in catchment management around the UK - and research evidence supports the effectiveness of some of the actions you describe here. Any indications from your patch that they're working? SJO

  • Thanks Yudi.

  • Thanks for your kind words!

  • Thanks Aurès. As well as drinking, a huge amount of water is used in food production - probably the major part of our water consumption. And somehow we have to manage the demand for these purposes without damaging the natural ecosystems that we depend on for water supply. SJO

  • Thanks Roy: I agree. And there is an aggregate need beyond our individual actions to whole communities wouldn't you say? SJO

  • Thanks Cathy: interesting comment about environmental refugees - which is a large and often overlooked issue. And one of the consequences of problems of water security that will inevitable grow in future as pressures intensify. SJO

  • Yes: thanks Katherine. And there is the challenge of expanding individual 'consciousness' of our actions to the aggregate total of their effects throughout the water cycle - given also that there is enormous inequality of access across the world. Quite a challenge. SJO

  • Hello Christine. Do you consider it important also to maintain and protect freshwater ecosystems while we're also providing safe and sufficient water for ourselves? I hope you'll drop into the future weeks' assessments of how well we're doing (or not doing) in this respect. SJO

  • Thanks Lokesh Kumar: an interesting distinction for us to consider between sources and resources. SJO

  • Thanks for this comment Hakimullah Azad. The challenge is how to get the 'cleverness' of our approach right in practice. SJO

  • That's a great overview Daniel: managing water security is, indeed, the management of a global cycle and part of the Earth system. But do you think we're anywhere near to getting the management right? SJO

  • Thanks for this comment, Prisha. Some of the environmental and ecosystem consequences of inadequate water security will come up in the weeks ahead - and to me are a very serious issue because natural freshwater ecosystems are, in the end, what we all depend upon. SJO

  • Thanks Jill. And the challenges of how we deliver those things in the face of major pressures to water availability, waste disposal and ecosystem protection are enormous. More to come on that in future weeks of the course. SJO

  • Thanks for this, Garance. Is there room for consideration of natural freshwater ecosystems in your thoughts of water security, too? SJO

  • Excellent definition, Tia. But how do we get there in the face of burgeoning demand, environmental water scarcity and accelerating degradation of freshwater ecosystems? More to come on this in future weeks. SJO

  • Do you think that's true of all types of pollution, Derek? I think nations like the UK have got on top of gross, sanitary pollution, yet there are new types of pollution such as pharmaceuticals and plastics. Problems from rural rivers might be getting worse. More to come in future weeks on pollution. SJO

  • Thanks for these observations, Gillian. There is more to come in the weeks ahead on the complexities of pollution as a contributor to water security problems which I hope will help you put your local circumstances into a wider context. Steve O

  • Thank you, Pranav Dev, for sharing your experiences - which are extremely relevant and pertinent to all of us on the course. You not only illustrate a prime example of insecurity of supply associated with the difficulty of access to water - but also the challenges of water governance where water crosses political boundaries. More of this in the weeks ahead. ...

  • Thanks Duduzile Ngidi: an excellent example of some the complex interactions affecting water security in different ways for people and ecosystems when we get things wrong. Steve O

  • Thanks for this comment, Christine. Worth remembering also that the potable supply is also energetically expensive to treat as well as a creating a demand on water sources: wasting water pays the double price of over-abstraction and CO2 cost. To that is added opportunity cost because wasted water might have gone into another use - and for example...

  • Maybe time for you to help raise the profile of the sustainable management of potable supply and wastewater as a concerned citizen? Steve O

  • Thanks Stuart: a prime example of appropriate technology not being appropriately deployed. But for some parts of the world, even water for a shower is a major challenge and potential drain on water security: stay tuned to hear more of this in the weeks ahead. Steve O

  • Thanks for this feedback, Derek. I wonder how your perceptions of water security will change as we move into considering issues such as pollution, climate change and the rapid damage occurring to natural freshwaters as we move into subsequent weeks? Steve O

  • Thanks for the positive feedback Cathy: more interesting things to come next week