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Andrew Wade

  • Head of Department for Geography and Environmental Science
  • Research in hydrology, focused on water pollution
  • Undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, including hydrological processes 

Areas of interest

Andrew's research interests cover:

  • finding solutions to water pollution problems
  • hydrological processes across scales and in different geographical settings
  • source, storage, transport, processing and fate of pollutants in river-systems
  • hydrology and water quality in the context of ecosystem services
  • novel technologies for catchment (water quality) monitoring
  • environmental modelling
  • atmospheric rivers and catchment controls on flood generation.

Postgraduate supervision

Andrew currently supervises the following projects:

  • Developing risk-based approaches to modelling phosphorus contamination in agricultural catchments. Walsh Fellowship. Lead supervisor: Miriam Glendell (Hutton Institute), co-supervisors: Per-Erik Mellander (Teagasc) and Nick Schurch (Hutton Institute)
  • Assessment of snow, glacier, and permafrost melt contributions to runoff in the Tien Shan and Pamir Mountains using isotopic analysis. University of Reading International Studentship. Lead supervisor: Maria Shahgedanova
  • Atmospheric rivers and the land surface. NERC Industrial CASE. Co-supervisors: David Lavers (ECMWF) and Glenn Watts (EA)
  • Climate change, water resource and agriculture in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan Government Scholarship. Lead supervisor: Maria Shahgedanova
  • Natural Flood Management. NERC SCENARIO DTP. Lead supervisor: Gareth Old (CEH), co-supervisor: Ponnambalam Rameshwaran (CEH)
  • Merry Crowson: Natural capital and landscape configuration. NERC QMEE CDT. Lead supervisor: Nathalie Pettorellie (IOZ), co-supervisors: Ken Norris (IOZ) and Nick Isaac (CEH).

Research centres and groups

Environmental Science Research Division

Research projects

  • ACCESS. Adaptive Capacity of Farming Communities to Climate Change in the Peruvian Andes, British Academy. Led by Prof Nick Branch. 2019-2020.
  • SCIWAI. Solutions for Clean Water in Central Asia: What Happens After the Ice? Reading-based UKRI GCRF Strategic Fund - Substantial Research Project. Led by Prof Maria Shahgedanova. 2018-2020.
  • CARAWAN. Characterising and Predicting Water Availability, Quality and Hazards in the Glacier-fed Catchments. UKRI GCRF Network Fund. 2018-2020.
  • Sustainable production or pollutant swapping? Gaseous reactive nitrogen emissions and leaching from rice-wheat rotations under denitrifier-inoculated fertilizer addition. Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology and the University of Reading collaboration. Co-PI - Prof Weishou Shen (NUIST).


Andrew Wade is a hydrologist specialising in water pollution at ecosystem, catchment and continental scales.

His current research focuses on finding solutions to water resource and water pollution problems in mountain regions (Andes, Tien Shan) where glacial melt is an issue, and in UK, European and world-wide river-systems where eutrophication is the main problem.

Andrew has led and co-led major projects to help find solutions to improve water quality set in the context of sustainable production and broader ecosystem services.

A recent example includes the NERC Macronutrients project, Turf2Surf (2013–18) which focused on an integrated assessment of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in relation to carbon sequestration, water quality, food production and biodiversity (with B Emmett, CEH and C Jago, Bangor) and co-development of the SimplyP model with Leah Jackson-Blake and James Sample, a new catchment-scale, parsimonious phosphorus model.

He has also led on innovation in water quality monitoring and modelling, including the EPSRC-funded project, Linking improved modelling of pollution to innovative development of sensors (2009–12) which progressed a new multi-determinand sensor based on microfluid dynamics (Hull University), and developed and installed field-based water quality systems equipped to monitor nitrogen and phosphorus alongside multi-paramter sondes (CEH and EA), all with remote data acquisition (Wade et al. 2012).

Andrew has also worked with:

  • socio-economists to integrate biophysical modelling with socio-economic analysis to help find solutions to reduce eutrophication across Europe in the EU FP6 EUROLIMPACS (2004–09) and EU FP7 project REFRESH - Adaptive strategies to mitigate the impacts of climate change on European freshwater ecosystems (2010–14);
  • a wide-range of stakeholders including government departments, regulators, and private companies to improve access to water quality models and data (CAMMP, 2014-2017);
  • human geographers, soil scientists, palaeoenvironment scientists and archaeologists to understand how climate change and landscape degradation, through impacts on the water resource, shaped cultural development in Jordan as part of the Leverhulme funded Water. Life and Civilisation project (2004–2009), and
  • meteorologists to identify the importance of atmospheric rivers in GB winter flood generation (Lavers et al., 2011).

Andrew obtained a BSc (1994) in Physics from the University of Leicester, a MSc (1995) from Newcastle University and a PhD (1999) in Physical Geography from the University of Aberdeen. He worked at the Macaulay Land Research (now James Hutton Institute) on understanding the controls on water quality in large UK river systems, then moved to the University of Reading in 1999 were he co-developed the INCA suite of catchment water quality models with colleagues as part of the EU FP5 INCA project.

Earlier publications

Wade, A. J., Whitehead, P. G. and Butterfield, D., 2002. The Integrated Catchments model of Phosphorus dynamics (INCA-P), a new approach for multiple source assessment in heterogeneous river systems: model structure and equations. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 6, 583-606.

Wade, A .J., Durand, P., Beaujouan, V., Wessel, W. W., Raat, K. J., Whitehead, P. G., Butterfield, D., Rankinen, K. and Lepisto, A., 2002. Towards a generic nitrogen model of European ecosystems: INCA, new model structure and equations. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 6, 559-582.

Wade, A. J., Whitehead, P. G. and O'Shea, L. C. M., 2002. The prediction and management of aquatic nitrogen pollution across Europe: An introduction to the Integrated Nitrogen in European Catchments project (INCA). Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 6, 299-313.

Jarvie, H. P., Wade, A. J., Butterfield, D., Whitehead, P. G., Tindall, C. I., Virtue, W. A., Dryburgh, W. and McGraw, A., 2002. Modelling nitrogen dynamics and distributions in the River Tweed, Scotland: an application of the INCA model. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 6, 433-453.

Whitehead, P. G., Lapworth, D. J., Skeffington, R. A. and Wade, A., 2002. Excess nitrogen leaching and C/N decline in the Tillingbourne catchment, southern England: INCA process modelling for current and historic time series. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 6, 455-466.

Soulsby C, Gibbins C, Wade A. J., Smart R and Helliwell R. 2002. Water quality in the Scottish uplands: a hydrological perspective on catchment hydrochemistry. Sci. Total Environ., 294 (1-3), 73-94.

Wade, A. J., Whitehead, P. G., Hornberger, G. M., Jarvie, H. P. and Flynn. N., 2002. On modelling the impacts of phosphorus stripping at sewage works on in-stream phosphorus and macrophyte/epiphyte dynamics: a case study of the river Kennet. Sci. Total Environ., 282/283, 395-415.

Wade, A. J., Whitehead, P. G., Hornberger, G. M., Jarvie, H. P. and Flynn, N. 2002. On modelling the flow controls on macrophyte and epiphyte dynamics in a lowland permeable catchment: the River Kennet, southern England. Sci. Total Env., 282/283, 375-393.

Wade, A. J. and Neal, C. 2002. Calcite saturation in the River Dee. Sci. Total Env., 282/283, 327-340.
Neal, C., Jarvie, H.P., Wade, A .J. and Whitehead, P.G. 2002. Water quality functioning of lowland permeable catchments: inferences from an intensive study of the River Kennet and upper River Thames. Sci. Total Env., 282/283, 471-490.

Flynn, N.J., Snook, D.L., Wade, A. J. and Jarvie, H.P., 2002. Macrophyte and periphyton dynamics in a UK Chalk stream: the River Kennet case study. Sci. Tot. Environ., 282/283, 143-157.
Jarvie, H.P., Neal, C., Williams, R.J., Neal, M., Wickham, H., Hill, L.K., Wade, A.J., Warwick, A. and White, J., 2002. Phosphorus sources, speciation and dynamics in a lowland eutrophic Chalk river; the River Kennet, UK. Sci. Total Env., 282/283, 175-203.

Wade, A. J., Neal, C., Soulsby, C., Langan, S. J and Smart, R. P., 2001 On modelling the effects of afforestation on acidification in heterogeneous catchments at different spatial and temporal scales. J. Hydrol., 250, 149-169.

Wade, A. J., Hornberger, G. M., Whitehead, P. G., Jarvie, H. P. and Flynn, N. 2001. On modelling the mechanisms that control instream phosphorus and macrophyte dynamics: an assessment of a new model using General Sensitivity Analysis. Water Resour. Res., 37, 2777-2792.

Smart R. P., Soulsby, C., Cresser, M. S., Wade, A. J., Townend J, Billett, M. F., Langan, S., 2001. Riparian zone influence on stream water chemistry at different spatial scales: a GIS-based modelling approach, an example for the Dee, NE Scotland., Sci. Total Env., 280 (1-3), 173-193.

Wade, A. J., Soulsby, C., Langan, S. J., Whitehead, P. G., Edwards, A. C., Butterfield, D., Smart, R. P., Cook, Y and Owen, R. P. 2001. Modelling instream nitrogen variability on the Dee catchment, NE Scotland. Sci. Tot. Env., 265 (1-3), 229-252.

Jarvie, H. P., Neal, C., Smart, R., Owen, R., Fraser, D., Forbes, I. and Wade, A. J. 2001. Use of continuous water quality records for hydrograph separation and to assess short term variability and extremes in acidity and dissolved carbon dioxide for the River Dee, Scotland. Sci. Tot. Env., 265 (1-3): 85-98.

Edwards, A. C., Cook, Y., Smart, R. and Wade, A. J., 2000. Concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus in streams draining the mixed land-use Dee Catchment, north-east Scotland. J. Appl. Ecol., 37 (s1), 159-170.

Cresser, M. S., Smart, R., Billett, M. F., Soulsby, C., Neal, C., Wade., A., Langan, S. and Edwards, A. C., 2000. Modelling water chemistry for a major Scottish river from catchment attributes. J. Appl. Ecol., 37 (s1), 171-184.

Wade, A. J., Neal, C., Soulsby, C., Smart, R. P., Langan, S. J. and Cresser, M. S. 1999. Modelling streamwater quality under varying hydrological conditions at different spatial scales. J. Hydrol., 217 (3-4): 266-284.

Smart, R. P., Soulsby, C., Neal, C., Wade, A. J., Cresser, M. S., Billett, M. F., Langan, S. J., Edwards, A. C., Jarvie, H. P. and Owen, R. 1998. The factors regulating the spatial and temporal distribution of solute concentrations in a major river system in NE Scotland, Sci. Tot. Env., 221: 93-110.

Jahiruddin, M., Smart, R., Wade, A. J., Neal, C., Cresser, M. S. 1998. Factors regulating the distribution of Boron in water in the River Dee catchment in north east Scotland. Sci. Tot. Env., 210/211: 53-62.

Neal, C., Robson, A. J., Wass, P., Wade, A. J., Ryland, G. P., Leach, D. V. and Leeks, G. J. L. 1998. Major, minor, trace element and suspended sediment variations in the River Derwent. Sci. Tot. Env. 210/211: 163-172.

White, C. C., Smart, R., Stutter, M., Cresser, M. S., Billett, M. F., Elias, E. A., Soulsby, C., Langan, S., Edwards, A. C., Wade, A. J., Ferrier, R. C., Neal, C., Jarvie, H. and Owen, R., 1998. A novel index of susceptibility of rivers and their catchments to acidification in regions subject to a maritime influence. Applied Geochemistry, 14 (8), 1093-1099.

Langan, S. J., Wade, A. J., Smart, R., Edwards, A. C., Soulsby, C., Billett, M. F., Jarvie, H. P., Cresser, M. S., Owen, R. and Ferrier, R. C. 1997. The prediction and management of water quality in a relatively unpolluted major Scottish catchment: current issues and experimental approaches. Sci. Tot. Env., 194/195: 419-435.

Wade, A. J., Jarvie, H. P., Neal, C., Prior, H., Whitehead, P. G. and Johnes, P. J. 2001 Nutrient Monitoring, Simulation and Management within a Major Lowland UK River System: The Kennet. Modsim 2001, Canberra, Australia.

Wade, A. J., Langan, S. J., Soulsby, C., Smart, R. Edwards, A. C., Jarvie, H. P. and Cresser, M. S. 1998. Impacts of land use and flow on nitrate concentrations and fluxes of an upland river system in north east Scotland. Proceedings of Headwater '98, the Fourth International Conference on Headwater Control, Merano, Italy: 127-137.

Cresser, M., Dikko, A., Wade, A. J. and Smart, R. P. 1997. Factors influencing Cu and Zn concentration in rivers in north east Scotland. In: Workshop on Critical Limits and Effect Based Approaches for Heavy Metals and Persistent Organic Pollutants. Bad Harzburg, Germany, 3-7 November, 1997. UN ECE Convention on Long-Range Trans-boundary Air Pollution Task Force on Mapping, Umweltbundesamt, Germany.

Dikko, A.U., Smart, R., Wade, A. J. and Cresser, M. S., Possible effects of losses in drainage water on the copper and zinc status of Scottish upland soils and their sustainability. ITC Journal: Special Congress Issue: Geo-information for Sustainable Land Management, 3/4 (1997), published on CD-ROM.