The UK Climate Resilience Programme ran from 2019 to 2023

Forecasting risk of environmental exacerbation of dissolved organic matter – building climate change resilience (Webinar)

UK Climate Resilience Programme webinar series

4 November 2020, 12.00-13.00

Speakers: Don Monteith (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) and Fraser Leith (Scottish Water)

Chair: Suraje Dessai

See links below for slides and webinar recording


Upland areas provide a large proportion of the UK’s drinking water. Upland drinking water sources often have elevated levels of dissolved organic matter (DOM) that must be removed by the water industry to minimise taste and odour problems and the generation of carcinogenic disinfection bi-products (DPBs) during chemical disinfection processes. Rising concentrations of DOM in recent decades have increased treatment costs and, in some cases, required investment in additional treatment processes. It is likely that anticipated changes in temperature and precipitation patterns will dominate future DOM trends. In the FREEDOM-BCCR project, a community of researchers and water industry representatives are collaborating to develop 1) a better understanding of where, and by how much, climate change is likely to affect future DOM levels and treatability in upland drinking water sources, and 2) a framework for prioritising potential adaption and mitigation options that can best improve the resilience of the supply.


Don Monteith is a senior scientist at the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. His research focusses on documenting and understanding how the biogeochemistry and ecology of upland catchments are responding to the long term effects of air pollution, climate change and changing land use and management. He coordinates the UK Upland Waters Monitoring Network, and, through representing the UK on the UNECE International Cooperative Programme, ICP Waters, co-led a paper in Nature providing the first definitive demonstration of a link between rising levels of dissolved organic carbon in upland waters and recovery from the effects of acid rain.

Dr Fraser Leith is Catchment Analyst in the Sustainable Land Management team at Scottish Water. His role involves managing the catchment-focused research programme, including being the Scottish Water liaison for the Freedom projects, and undertaking catchment and drinking water quality analysis. Prior to joining Scottish Water, he was in academic research, specialising in peatland carbon dynamics in Scotland and Sweden. He has a PhD in peatland biogeochemistry from the University of Edinburgh.

View the presentation slides

The webinar has been recorded and made into three shorter films, which you can find on our YouTube channel:


Don Monteith presentation: