Norfolk Estate Demonstrates What Water Management Can Do
An estate in Norfolk has managed to return 45 million litres of water to the environment through a series of measures it has introduced to improve its water management.
Farmers Weekly explained what steps Thelveton Estate has taken, as well as exploring the positive impact these have had. What’s more, the news provider revealed that it has cost the estate just over £4,000 to implement.
There is a 1,600 hectare farming business on Thelveton Estate and they have been working closely with Norfolk Rivers Trust as part of the Water Sensitive Farming Initiative. Among the issues that the estate dealt with through its water management plan were the risk of soil and water movement across the farm and related pollution.
Returning a substantial amount of water to the environment is far from the only positive impact that these steps have had. They have also resulted in improved biodiversity on the estate, better nutrient retention and natural flood management – all important areas in the fight against climate change.
The news provider explained that taking a farm-wide approach has enabled habitats to develop and connect. It has also slowed water flow to low lying areas and seen sand and silt deposits returned to the fields.
Head of farming and water at Norfolk Rivers Trust Ed Bramham-Jones told the publication that he first started looking at water management on the estate alongside its previous farm manager Oliver Scott in 2018.
Initially, their focus was on dealing with the issues caused by downpours on compacted wheeled areas, because this was a major source of run-off.
The solution they introduced was to carry out tramline disruption work, as well as using specialist equipment to break pathways, alter surfaces and divert water. They also created silt traps in strategic locations. The immediate positive impact of these measures has seen them introduced across 57 hectares of the farm.
In addition, they also created wetland features where it was appropriate to help slow the water and hold it in certain areas.
“If you can slow the water flow, it means that silt particles are deposited. So in addition to having vegetation in ditches, we used ghost ponds and leaky dams, depending on the situation,” Mr Bramham-Jones explained.
He believes that, in the future, a financial support system of “public money for public good” will help farmers to go the extra mile and give them the ability to invest in measures that support water sensitive farming.
“Often they are already in an agri-environment scheme, but would like to do more than an existing scheme allows,” Mr Bramham-Jones added.
Last month, we reported that everyone in the UK is going to need to work together to prevent the country from facing water shortages in the future, from homes and businesses to farmers and industry sectors.
If you’re looking at how you can play your part in your business, consider having a water audit survey to find out how you could change your usage or even your supplier to benefit not only your bottom line, but also the environment.