Climate Change Adaptation
Upstream Thinking £9.1 million will be spent between now and 2015 to manage water quality and quantity before it reaches our reservoirs and water treatment works.
Upstream Thinking is South West Water's commitment to protecting the environment and controlling water treatment costs.
We are using the landscape's natural capacity for water storage and filtration to deliver cleaner water to treatment works and reservoirs. Work has already begun to rewet damaged areas of peat in Exmoor, encouraging them to act as sponges during heavy rainfall. This will lessen the impact of storms further downstream and offer a more sustainable approach to the impacts of climate change.
Following the successful trial work on Exmoor to restore 250 hectares of mires, Ofwat has given approval for South West Water to restore a further 4,000 hectares, mainly on Exmoor between 2010 and 2015. Pilot trials are also planned on Dartmoor.
We will be working with farmers to identify how soil and fertiliser can enter the watercourse from their farmland. Soil and fertiliser are costly to remove at water treatment works.
We will be funding rainwater stores on farms, and providing soil analysis to identify how much fertiliser should be used - and when - for best results. These measures will cut costs for farmers and reduce the amount of fertiliser entering the watercourse.
A successful three-year pilot scheme has been completed at 14 farms in the Upper Tamar catchment, on the Devon/Cornwall border, to reduce diffuse pollution and runoff into the watercourse. Investigations show that river water below these farms is now cleaner than the water above.
As a result of this pilot scheme, Ofwat has approved further projects in West Penwith, Fowey River, the Tamar, Wimbleball and Roadford catchments and the Otter Valley.
South West Water is working with partners including Defra, the Environment Agency, the Westcountry Rivers Trust, Devon Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Natural England, the Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG) and English Heritage to deliver Upstream Thinking across Devon, Cornwall and West Somerset.