It is argued that the aggregation approach towards macroscale hydrological modelling, in which it is assumed that a model applicable at small scales can be applied at larger scales using effective parameter values, is an inadequate approach to the scale problem. It is also unlikely that any general scaling theory can be developed due to the dependence of hydrological systems on historical and geological perturbations. Thus a disaggregation approach to developing scale-dependent models is advocated in which a representation of the distribution of hydrological responses is used to reflect hydrological heterogeneity. An appropriate form of distribution may vary with both scale and environment. Such an approach is dependent on the data available to define and calibrate the chosen subgrid parameterization. A parameterization based on a minimum patch representation is suggested and the problems of identification at the larger scale discussed.