Upstream Thinking

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We’re changing the way we think about water and the landscape. Working with our partners we will ensure a better future for farming, value for our customers, improve wildlife habitats and restore wetlands and future resilient water supplies.

Our Upstream Thinking project is an multi-award-winning catchment management scheme which applies natural landscape-scale solutions to improve water quality.

The project is delivered through a unique range of partnerships between ourselves, Westcountry Rivers Trust and Devon and Cornwall Wildlife Trusts, government agencies, environmental experts, landowners and tenant farmers. 

What’s Upstream Thinking?

Before you turn on the tap and have a drink, enjoy a relaxing bath or shower – the water, an essential commodity within all of our lives has travelled across high grounds, through farm land, rivers and streams, stored in reservoirs and then processed. Human impact on the land has an inevitable affect on our rivers. Peat bogs, wetlands, hedgerows, fields, woodlands have altered dramatically over time. Farmyard manure, artificial fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides are released onto land and into rivers, through the way landscapes of the south west are managed.

What are we doing?

In 2003, we encountered complications with eutrophication at Upper Tamar Lakes. The reservoir was experiencing an annual nutrient-driven algal bloom, which caused problems for water supply and ecology downstream. 

It got us thinking...

  • How do we stop these nutrients from entering the reservoir whilst supporting farmers and the rural economy?
  • How do we protect our customers from rising bills they face as a result of having to treat more difficult raw water?
  • And how do we manage the impact of global warming on the business that we run?