SOIL AND WATER
There is a close relationship and interconnectivity between water and land management. Indeed the biology, chemistry and physics of soils are critical to the condition – and the amount - of water that passes through them. Soils are crucial for flood management, clean drinking and bathing waters and waterway biodiversity, whilst diffuse pollution and compacted or damaged soils undermine these eco-services and represent a significant financial burden for water companies and their customers.
These economic interests and the demands of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) mean that across much of the country water companies, scientists and local activists are taking a catchment-based approach to soil management as the best and most affordable means of tackling diffuse pollution at source before it reaches a water treatment works.
There are many approaches to this influenced by style of leadership, regional interests, stakeholder engagement and more. For example, Wessex Water has developed an environmental trading model - En-Trade - and South West Water, in collaboration with the Rivers Trust, has developed the Upstream Thinking initiative.
We are looking to work with the organisations responsible for driving these initiatives, to presenting their findings, identifying best practise and showcasing their work to government and other stakeholders.
Yog Watkins of the Westcountry Rivers Trust discusses the critical role healthy soils can play in natural flood management and highlights some pioneering initiatives in this area in the latest in our Soil Soap Box series.
For more research and reports visit our reference library.