Wessex Water's award winning catchment management initiative began in 2005, with the objective of stabilising and then reducing the levels of contaminant at water sources so no additional treatment is required. They work with local farmers and landowners in the catchment areas of the boreholes and reservoirs to safeguard the quality of ground and surface waters.
Working together with local farmers and landowners means they can influence and implement changes in agricultural land use and practice to reduce the levels of nitrate and pesticide that enter the ground and surface water environments. Methods adopted include data sharing, advice, practical help and, in some circumstances, financial incentives. They also liaise closely with various organisations including the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) on catchment management initiatives.
Since the Wessex Water catchment management programme began in 2005 there have been no nitrate exceedances in treated water at any of their ‘at risk’ catchments. In addition, they no longer require additional treatment for pesticides and metaldehyde removal at one groundwater site and two surface reservoirs.
These real, measurable outcomes not only provide cost savings for Wessex Water and its customers, but also for catchment farmers in terms of optimised and reduced use of nutrients and pesticides.
Wessex Water have published a report which explains their programme, includes case studies and sets out proposals for the future.