A Community Guide to Your Water Environment

Resource explained

Water is a vital resource on which we all depend, but can also be destructive and damaging to our lives and economy. The aim of this guide is to show how communities and farmers can work together to build resilience to extreme weather events, and how, if well facilitated, integration of existing government programs and budgets could enable cost savings, improve environmental quality and underpin sustainable growth. The guide gives step by step instructions on how communities, councils and environmental organisations can work together with local landowners and farmers to protect their water environment. It covers relevant legislation, funding sources and data sources. Finally, it gives four case studies of projects where an integrated approach to water management is producing multiple benefits to the local population, ecosystems and economy.

Findings & recommendations

  • As the demands we place on our landscape grow, we are seeing increasing incidents of flooding, water pollution and aquatic habitat degradation. With this comes high clean-up costs, which fall on councils, insurers, businesses and local populations.
  • The guide presents a proven approach to addressing water related problems in an integrated manner that benefits farmers, local communities and the wider public. It outlines how a local approach to environmental management can break down the complexity and overlap that so often hampers the process. And it illustrates how, by taking this approach, our efforts to protect our waterways can serve a wide array of other benefits as well; from building soil fertility and producing sustainable food through to rebuilding the connection between communities and a landscape buzzing with life. In this way, we can underpin the growth of the economy and population with a sustainable model that is inclusive and accessible to all.
  • The guide is designed as a project template for communities linked along waterbodies, enabling each community to protect its piece of a wider geographical jigsaw. For further information or support, contact Jenny Phelps: Jenny.phelps@fwagsw.org.uk 07876687272

(Header image: Healthy farmed environments are key to protecting our water quality and reducing flood risk. Photo credit: Mark Seton The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group South West)

Summary provided by:

Luke Dale-Harris

Edited by:

Janie Caldbeck

Associated Agricology Partner Organisation(s):

Related articles

CFE Virtual Workshop – Water, Soils, Wildlife & Profit

Recording of an online workshop organised by CFE on water, soils, wildlife, and on-farm profit and featuring Phil Jarvis, Farm Manager at the GWCT Allerton...

Diffuse water pollution, GHGs and ammonia emissions

Identify where and how you can make changes on your farm to help reduce diffuse water and air pollution and GHGs.

Illustrated guide to water courses beside grassland

Practical guidance to help you manage watercourses and livestock in ways that will cause the least harm to water quality and wildlife.

Improving water quality on the River Wensum

A case study describing the process of installing silt traps to capture soil and water run-off on a farm near the Blackwater, Norfolk, and the...

Simply Sustainable Water

A practical guide to help you develop an effective on-farm management strategy for efficient and sustainable water use.

Simply Sustainable Water at Overbury Farms

A 7-minute video explaining how the Six Simple Steps of Simply Sustainable Water are implemented at Overbury Farms.

Water and wildlife

Find out about the wildlife of ponds, ditches, rivers and streams on the farm and some tips on habitat management.

Trees, water and farming – improving water quality

A short video highlighting how trees have been used in the uplands of Cumbria to manage water drainage and quality and prevent soil erosion.

Water Management and the Future

Recording of a Groundswell 2022 discussion organised by Agricology exploring water resilience; why it's important to consider it on the farm, how it can be...
To top