Water Sensitive Farming is a collaborative approach to benefit both farmers and the environment by improving agricultural soil and water management throughout much of East Anglia. It is being delivered locally through the Broadland and Cam & Ely Ouse catchment partnerships using private, third sector and European investment. The aim is to keep soil, nutrients and water in the field and away from the surrounding river system, enhancing farm productivity and watercourse quality. The focus is on ‘on-the-ground’ action and relationship building, for further information see the WSF information leaflet.
WaterLIFE and the WWF-UK and Coca-Cola Freshwater Partnership
WaterLIFE, an EC-funded LIFE project, and the WWF-UK and Coca-Cola Freshwater Partnership have funded Norfolk Rivers Trust to employ farm advisers to work with farmers to: improve land use over 3000 acres; install 15 silt traps; and engage greater than 1000 farmers in each catchment between 2016 and 2018. By summer 2018, the project estimates that the delivery of silt traps and land use improvements across the two catchments will have replenished more than 750,000 cubic metres of water to the environment – equivalent to 300 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
For further information or to arrange a free farm visit contact Alison Smyth, Farm adviser, Norfolk Rivers Trust: Alison@norfolkriverstrust.org or call 07493 685906
As part of its commitment to source responsibly, Tesco also funded a Water Sensitive Farming pilot project in 2017 working in partnership with the Broads Authority as well as farmers in the Broadland Rivers Catchment. Not only is East Anglia an important sourcing location for a range of Tesco’s fresh produce, such as potatoes, the project provided lessons on approaches and interventions that could be scaled-up in other important sourcing locations. The project encouraged the use of new and innovative technology, raised awareness of the protection of waterbodies, and linked growers with funding sources.
Tesco funded the purchase of a ‘BE Wonder Wheel’ that was offered to growers to trial for free. This piece of machinery is towed behind a tractor to shape the soil in potato beds and reduce run-off from irrigation and rainfall events. Tesco have continued to make the equipment available via catchment partnership hosts. Additional equipment, such as the ‘Earthwake’ and ‘Wheel Track Roller’ are also available to trial. For more information please see the final report.
To arrange free kit trials contact: Neil Punchard, Broadland Catchment Partnership Officer, Broads Authority: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07900 266496
For more information on the project, view the video below: