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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Dr Sim M. Reaney

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Associate Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 43480
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 241
Associate Professor, Catchments and Rivers

(email at


Sim Reaney’s research is centred on the movement of water through the landscape and the representation of these hydrological processes within both simulation models and geospatial analysis. His work includes the impact of diffuse pollution from the landscape on water quality, catchment hydrological processes and working with natural processes approaches to flood risk management. The connection between these different areas of work is the concept of hydrological connectivity. The testing and representation of how different parts of the landscape connect via hydrological pathways is key to the understanding of these different environmental pressures.

The importance of hydrological connectivity is embedded within the SCIMAP diffuse pollution risk mapping toolset. SCIMAP uses geospatial analysis to map source areas for sediments, nutrients and microbial pollution to enable effective catchment management. In this analysis, SCIMAP calculates detailed connectivity and source maps at the landscape extent with sub field detail. The SCIMAP water quality work spans sediment, nutrients (N and P), microbial pollution and flood risk. The approach has been widely adopted within the UK and overseas and is supported by a series of user group meetings.

Sim Reaney designed and developed the CRUM3 catchment model that has been used to research how geomorphology and rainfall patterns lead to the connection and disconnection of different parts of the landscape. This model has been used to represent how natural flood risk management mitigation schemes disconnect surface water flows that least to flood events. The model has also been used to represent how projected climate change may affect river flows and how the changing climate may affect the strength of the hydrological connectivity. Research projects, government agencies and industry have used either the model directly or predictions from the model to inform decision making.

Sim Reaney is currently working on the measurement and modelling of flood risk in Java, Indonesia, and in Nepal and refining approach to landscape managmeent within the UK. He is supervising postgraduate research on flood risk reduction in Nepal and Java and on water quality modelling in the UK. He is applying detailed drone mapping to produce fine-scale topographic maps that capture small scale features in the landscape that effect the generation and export of diffuse pressures. He is teaching on hydrological processes, catchment management and simulation modelling of catchment hydrology and flood risk. More details of his work are on his website, Twitter and Instagram.


Research Groups

Department of Geography

Research Projects

Department of Geography

  • Built Infrastructure for Older People’s Care in Conditions of Climate Change (BIOPICCC)
  • Risk-Based Modelling of Diffuse Agricultural Pollution

Department of Sociology

  • Built Infrastructure for Older People’s Care in Conditions of Climate Change (BIOPICCC)

Research Interests

  • Agricultural diffuse (non point) pollution - N, P and fine sediment
  • Catchment based hydrological modelling
  • Connectivity of environmental flows
  • Flood hazards
  • Minimal complexity approaches to environmental problems
  • Physical hydrological processes

Teaching Areas

  • Catchment Modelling for Management
  • Fluvial Systems
  • Hydro-meteorological hazards (MSc)
  • Introduction to Geographical Research

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Show all publications


Selected Grants

  • 2018: Eden DTC Phase III (£16343.14 from )
  • 2018: NERC Indonesia - Java Flood One (£24732.56 from Natural Environmental Research Council)
  • 2017: Visualising Pathogen & Environmental Risk: transition to a user-ready toolkit (ViPER II) (£5668.00 from Natural Environmental Research Council)
  • 2015: Demonstration tests catchment River Eden Phase 2 (£132141.00 from DEFRA)
  • 2014: A Catchment Based Approach to Flood Risk Management in the Roe Beck Catchment, Cumbria (£7996.00 from Eden Rivers Trust)
  • 2014: Development of Effective Approaches to Flood Risk Reduction using Natural Techniques on Tutta Beck, County Durham (£10000.00 from Tees Rivers Trust)
  • 2014: Pathogen Risks in Agricultural Catchments: Towards International Collaboration And Learning in Modelling (PRACTICAL Modelling) (£5958.00 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)
  • 2011: Spatially Targeted and Coordinated Regulation of Agricultural Externalities: An Economic Perspective (£19915.78 from ESRC)
  • 2009: The River Eden Consortium design and implementation of monitoring approach at catchment scale and development of catchment conceptual model (£324447.06 from DEFRA)
  • 2011: Pilot Virtual Observatory (£16118.00 from NERC - Natural Environment Research Council)