The interaction of carbon monoxide (CO) with vapour-deposited water (H2O) ices has been studied using temperature programmed desorption (TPD) and Fourier transform reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy (FT-RAIRS) over a range of astrophysically relevant temperatures. Such measurements have shown that CO desorption from amorphous H2O ices is a much more complex process than current astrochemical models suggest. Re-visiting previously reported laboratory experiments (Collings et al., 2003), a rate model has been constructed to explain, in a phenomenological manner, the desorption of CO over astronomically relevant timescales. The model presented here can be widely applied to a range of astronomical environments where depletion of CO from the gas phase is relevant. The model accounts for the two competing processes of CO desorption and migration, and also enables the entrapment of some of the CO in the ice matrix and its subsequent release as the water ice crystallises and then desorbs. The astronomical implications of this model are discussed.