This is a group of key environmental NGOs who are active in delivering or supporting catchment management, and who have come together to represent CaBA partnerships at the national level. With its roots in both Wildlife LINK (an umbrella body of environmental NGOs) and the Environment Agency's Catchment Group (set up to inform the development of catchment scale delivery) the group has a role in both championing CaBA as a principle, and in supporting CaBA partnerships, at a national level.

The majority of CaBA partnership host organisations are affiliated to or work closely with one of the national organisations represented on the Support Group.

Group members work to support the CaBA partnerships by:

  •   Championing the catchment based approach,
  •   Identifying gaps in knowledge or process,
  •   Helping to steer investment and R&D, and
  •   Helping to identify and tackle issues that act as a barrier to delivery by catchment partnerships.

As part of its remit, the group helps to allocate funding set aside by Defra to support catchment delivery, and uses feedback from CaBA partnerships & the Catchment Data User Group to inform its decisions. Group members also provide a route through which local partnerships can share best practice and collaborate with other organisations to deliver or benefit from training and other learning experiences.

CHAIR: Arlin Rickard 

Chief Executive, The Rivers Trust

arlinrickardArlin is currently the Chairman of the CaBA National Support Group and was the founding Director of Westcountry Rivers Trust, from the Trusts’ inception in 1994 until 2004 when he moved across to lead 'The Rivers Trust', the umbrella body of the Rivers Trust Movement covering England, Wales and Ireland.



Other Support Group Members


CaBA Support Group




The Environment Agency established an External User Group for their Catchment Planning System in 2012, with the aim of identifying 'end user' needs from the River Basin Planning and Catchment Management co-deliverer community.

The Catchment Planning System has been launched in 2013 as an internal EA system, and the user group has helped to shape some of the related outward facing products, such as EA DataShare (now superceded by EA's Partner Data Catalogue and, and the Catchment Data Explorer, as well as community initiatives such as the Rivers Trust Catchment Mapping Portal.  

The CPS is likely to remain an internal EA system for the near future, and the catchment planning landscape has moved on with the advent of the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA), so the group expanded it's remit to reflect on-going developments in data and information sharing requirements.


13 12 03 CaBA SW DE Summit NP Intro small


Information sharing is a two-way process and external involvement in the river basin planning process is required and being actively developed. This process is going to rely increasingly on better access to data and information by catchment partnerships, but also on improved and streamlined sharing of information from those groups with their catchment management partners and statutory agencies.  

The group report to the National CaBA Support Group and help them identify and prioritise technical support and infrastructure requirements to be funded from the Catchment Partnership Fund National Allocation. Some of the projects which the group have brought forward for funding and are actively involved with delivering are found on the best practice pages of this website and listed in this handy guide.  

The current CDUG membership list can be found HERE

If you are interested in joining CDUG please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Terms of Reference - aim:

The primary aim of the Catchment Data User Group is to improve data and information sharing among the River Basin Planning and Catchment-Based Approach co-deliverer community.


  • Provide advice and recommendations to the National CaBA Support Group regarding data, evidence and information management related to catchment management and the Catchment Based Approach.
  • Review, prioritise and deliver options for data and information sharing developments to be funded under the Catchment Partnership Fund National Allocation and other funding streams.
  • Identify opportunities for dissemination of best practice, capacity building in the CaBA network and ongoing sustainability of CaBA support tools by joining up with parallel data and information-sharing initiatives and developing wider links to facilitate this.
  • Coordinate, develop and promote the two-way sharing of information between EA/Defra and wider WFD co-deliverers and CaBA, including identifying end user requirements for systems and products, and development of Quality Assurance protocols and procedures for information gathering.
  • Facilitate and promote wider access to data, evidence, information and decision-support tools for the CaBA community through ongoing liaison with data providers, engagement with relevant projects and linking with related learning workshops and training.
  • Advise and support clear external communications regarding proposed changes to the river basin planning process (for example WFD classifications, tools and ‘building blocks’, economic appraisal, etc). and opportunities to input via information sharing tools and platforms.



The CaBA Urban Working Group (CUWG) champions a collaborative, partnership approach to urban water management, engaging and raising awareness across a range of key stakeholders to drive improvements to water quality and biodiversity, reduce flood risk, enhance health and well-being and build community cohesion.
Bill Green Photography

The CUWG supports CaBA partnerships nationwide by helping them to build capacity and expertise and to engage more effectively with key stakeholders, including local authorities, communities, businesses and developers, on urban water management issues, driving collaborative delivery on the ground.

The group is chaired by Peter Bide (formerly of DGLC) with a membership encompassing Environmental NGOs (Rivers Trusts, Groundwork, Wildfowl and Wetland Trust), Environment Agency, Natural England, Local Government and CIRIA.

Brookmill park Bill green photographyThe group frequently runs workshops to bring together key players in the urban water management sector to explain the multiple benefits of an integrated and collaborative approach to urban water management and showcase examples of its successful implementation.  The CUWG also works closely with the Local Action Project that seeks to enhance the natural capital in our towns and cities to improve people’s lives, the environment and economic prosperity.

In addition to producing guidance championing collaborative Urban Water Management, CUWG has also supported production of the Lewisham Council led guidance note for planners and contributed to the University of Cambridge ‘Planning Advice for Integrated Water Management’ authored by Peter Bide. Additionally, the group has supported publication of a guide for catchment partnerships seeking funding for urban delivery projects.


Each of these documents can be downloaded here (click to view):

Photo credit: ©Bill Green Photography






The Governance Working Group is a Task and Finish Group established to determine how the CaBA Support Group should undertake its work and the terms of reference and working structure it should adopt to underpin that. In doing so the group also examined the roles and respective responsibilities of the Support Group, Defra, EA and Catchment Partnerships.


Chris Ryder (Independent); Arlin Rickard (The Rivers Trust); Laurie Smith (SOAS); Kevin Collins (Open University); Kathy Hughes (WWF); Ali Morse (Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust); Ashley Holt (Defra); Richard Cole (Defra); Damian Crilly (EA).




The Catchment-Based Approach website is designed to showcase the work of catchment partnerships aross England and Wales and to encourage the sharing and adoption of best practice in stakeholder-led catchment managment planning, delivery and evaluation.


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