Flood Estimation Handbook Web Service

1. Catchments and Points

What do I get when I buy a catchment or point?

The Web Service provides data at a catchment or point scale. Our User Guide provides a full list of descriptors, rainfall rarity/depth data and data formats provided for catchments and points.

Once a catchment or point has been purchased it remains associated with your account granting you perpetual access to the data. Since the dataset is smaller, point data costs less than catchment data.

When purchasing a catchment or point you have the option to enter a tag; what is this for?
The tag field for each purchased catchment or point can, for example, be used for project/team codes. These will appear in the details on your purchased catchment or point, can be used to filter and export in My Data and is provided within the usage report an Individual User or the Lead Organisational User can download allowing credit expenditure to be costed to projects or teams.
BFIHOST19 - why has the BFIHOST descriptor being updated?
BFIHOST is a catchment descriptor that provides an estimate of base flow index (BFI). It is derived from the Hydrology of Soil Types (HOST) classification which provides a measure of catchment responsiveness. The HOST dataset is a 1km grid that records the percentage of each soil class present. The BFIHOST catchment descriptor is an area-weighted value derived from grids located within the delineated catchment boundary. BFIHOST is used with other variables to estimate the median annual maximum flood in the FEH statistical method and the maximum soil moisture capacity parameter in the ReFH2 loss model. A number of issues with the BFIHOST catchment descriptor values had been identified, including a tendency to underestimate BFI in clay-dominated catchments, problems in ephemeral catchments and an error in referencing 1km point BFIHOST which was identified and corrected during 2018. To resolve such issues, UKCEH has revised the regression method used to estimate BFIHOST and has improved the classification of rare soil types. The new BFIHOST19 values for catchments and 1km points is now available alongside the original BFIHOST data. The catchment descriptor equations that include BFIHOST are being reviewed and recalibrated as required to allow the improved data to be used in flood frequency estimates. The latest FEH rainfall-runoff method (ReFH2.3) uses the BFIHOST19 descriptor.

2. FEH Methods

How can I access the Flood Estimation Handbook?

A free downloadable version is available:

You can purchase a hardcopy via Wallingford HydroSolutions on behalf of UKCEH.
What is the uncertainty in the FEH Methods?
A short guide has been prepared on the uncertainty in FEH methods.

3. FEH13 DDF Model

Background to the Depth-Duration-Frequency (DDF) models and the differences between FEH13 and FEH99
The below UKCEH Webinar provides the background to UK rainfall frequency (DDF) modelling and comparisons between FEH13 and FEH99 rainfall estimates, as well as an introduction to using the FEH Web Service. This can also be viewed on YouTube here.

What is the FEH13 rainfall DDF model?
The FEH13 rainfall model is the FEH’s latest UK-wide statistical model for rainfall depth-duration-frequency (DDF) estimation. Please see our User Guide for a summary of FEH13 with associated references.
What period of data has the FEH13 rainfall been derived from?
Please see our User Guide for details.

4. Purchasing Credits

What are the payment options?
The credit purchase process is the same for individual users and lead organisational users. Under your account click on the option 'Purchase Credit' and enter the amount you wish to purchase. A purchase of up to 1,000 credits can only be made via credit or debit card though our secure payment gateway. Alternatively for orders over 1,000 credits you have the option to select 'Purchase Order' and payment can be made via bank transfer or cheque. You are given the option to enter a PO number and the system will then issue you a proforma invoice. Once payment is received credits will be allocated to your account and you will be notified via email.

Bulk credit purchases for 10,000 or above payment must be paid via purchase order.

Please see our User Guide for further details.

How much do credits cost?
Please visit the Pricing page.
I have placed an order via purchase order but realised that the details on my proforma invoice are incorrect, what should I do?
You will need to cancel the order via your account, place the order again with the correct details.
Can I get a refund if I purchase an incorrect catchment or point?
We cannot offer a refund if a catchment/point is purchased in error. The FEH Web Service has been designed specifically to provide users with as much contextual information as possible, including OS data and the defined catchment boundary, before committing to make a purchase in order to minimise the possibility of errors occurring. We do welcome feedback on the service so if you have any suggestions of additional information that could have been supplied in order to avoid this type of error in the future we would welcome this so that we can feed this into discussions on the future development of the service.
Do my credits expire?

If you place orders of less than 10,000 credits, these credits will not expire. Credits that are purchased in blocks above this threshold at the higher discount bands (see the pricing page) expire after one year. See also the bulk order purchasing page.

5. Individual Users

What is an individual user account?
As an individual user, you can buy and spend credits as you wish and you are not linked to other user accounts. To sign up as individual please register here.

6. Organisational Accounts

What is an organisational account?
Please see our User Guide for details of what an organisational account is, and details on the two types of Organisational users: lead user(s) and organisational users.
My company has an organisational account for the Web Service; how do I join it?
You will need to ask a lead user to invite you to join the organisational account.
How do I become a lead user of an existing organisational account?
You will need to ask the existing lead user(s) and they will invite you to become an additional lead user.
As lead user, how do I manage the users and their purchases in my organisation?
Please see our User Guide for details.
I am an existing user and I have been invited to join an organisational account. What will happen to my existing credit balance?
Your credits will be merged into a single organisational balance, and it will be the responsibility of the lead user to assign you a credit quota.
How are credits allocated under the organisational account?
It will be the responsibility of the lead user to allocate a credit quota to each user. Your balance of credits will be the quota amount.
How many credits does my organisation have?
The credit box in the top hand right corner of the page shows your organisation balance. Balances over 1000 are simply shown as 1000+. Lead users can see the exact amount via the "Your account → Manage organisation and users" menu
My quota is showing 0, how do I request more credits?
You will need to speak to your lead user(s) to request for more credits. The lead users' email are listed under Your Account → Profile, on the Overview tab.
My company has multiple organisational accounts; how do we merge them into one?
You will need to contact us to arrange for the accounts to be merged. Within your request please include as much information as possible including the name of each organisational account, the lead users and the lead user(s) you would like to be responsible for the new account.
I am an existing/new Web Service user; can I set up an organisational account with myself as the lead user?

Firstly please check with your organisation; if you find out an organisational account already exists please visit the FAQ:

Otherwise please contact us to set up a new organisational account.

7. Educational Users

I am an educational user: what discounts apply?
A discounted rate is available for educational use. The cost is £150 (excluding VAT) for 1,000 credits (£1.50 per catchment retrieval). The Organisational account feature is not available for Educational use as the credits must all be released to the same Web Service account and used by the agreed licensee. If you qualify for this offer we will issue you with a licence certificate along with an invoice for payment (we do not accept credit/debit card payments for educational licenses). The signed licence certificate and payment must be received before the credits are allocated. Please visit the Contact Us page to proceed set up.

8. Map Layers

What are Peak Flow gauging stations, and the Suitable to QMED and Suitable for Pooling categories?
The NRFA Peak Flow Dataset provides peak flow data (Annual Maxima and Peaks over Threshold) for a sub-set of the NRFA gauging stations for which daily flow data are available. The indicative suitability for QMED and Pooling is assigned to each Peak Flow station and relates to the suitability for use within the FEH methods.
What is the ReFH gauging station category?
These are the gauging stations that were used in the development of the ReFH parameter equations, where multivariate regression analysis was used to relate the variation in calibrated model parameters (Tp, Cmax, BL and BR) between catchments to catchment descriptors. There are separate sets of parameter equations for Scotland and the group of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

9. General

How do I report a problem, or ask for help?
Please see the Contact Us page.
What web browsers are supported?
We aim to support the newest versions of Microsoft Edge, Firefox and Chrome. Internet Explorer version 11 is no longer recommended. The Safari browser will prevent you from using the "Save map image" function. See the separate FAQ on this topic. Older versions of Safari also have problems with data entry fields. If you have problems entering numeric values we recommend you switch to to one of the fully-supported browsers, above.