Essex & Suffolk Water′s catchment management work aims to prevent deterioration and then improve the quality of water in the rivers and lakes that we abstract from for drinking water supply. Preventing deterioration in water quality helps to ensure that the quantity of water available for abstraction is maintained.
The quality of water in rivers and lakes is largely determined by the quality of water draining from the land in a catchment and is thus affected by the way the land is used and managed.
A challenge faced by Essex & Suffolk Water is that we do not own the majority of the land within the catchments we abstract from, and so we work in partnership with a range of organisations, the farming community and land owners to help influence land management practices.
We are working within five catchments across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, focusing on reducing the amount of nitrate and pesticides entering the rivers and lakes. Phosphate and sediment are additionally targeted as these also contribute to poor river and lake water quality.
Our catchment management initiatives work in conjunction with, and support national campaigns and objectives, including the Water Framework Directive, Catchment Sensitive Farming, Campaign for the Farmed Environment and the Voluntary Initiative.
We also undertake investigations into the sources of pesticides in the environment and the pathways through
which they can reach watercourses. This helps us
understand what measures, such as biobeds, can help
to prevent unwanted substances reaching the rivers we
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