Working with farmers to help reduce nitrates in Worthing and beyond

 

Specialist teams at Southern Water have completed their first year of nitrate reduction measures for drinking water catchments in the Worthing area.

Southern Water’s catchment team has been working closely with the Arun to Adur Farmer's Group (AAFG) to raise awareness of water quality issues, and implement measures designed in collaboration with the group, to reduce nitrate leaching to groundwater. 

In the Brighton area, the catchment team has built on the success of the Chalk Management Partnership (ChaMP) project and is now working directly with farmers in our catchments. Nitrate reduction schemes are now in their second year in the wider Brighton area.  

Catchment Officer for Brighton at Southern Water, Robin Kelly, said: “Over the 2019/20 growing season, we have incentivised farmers to adopt a number of land management practices which will reduce their inputs of nitrogen fertiliser and make their applications more efficient, therefore reducing the amount of nitrate lost to groundwater through leaching. We have also funded soil testing to help us better understand the nitrate risk and to assist farms with nutrient management planning.”

In the last year, in the Brighton and Worthing Chalk Blocks, Southern Water has funded:

•446 hectares of over-winter cover crops
•226 hectares of no input grassland
•221 hectares of cover crops followed by summer fallow
•100 hectares of arable reversion to grassland
• and hundreds more hectares in other nitrate reduction measures

Zoë Fothergill, Southern Water Catchment Officer for Worthing, added: “As well as encouraging sustainable farming practices which benefit the natural environment, it is hoped this approach will address nitrate spikes seen seasonally at a number of our sources and, in the longer term, reduce the requirement for costly, engineered nitrate removal solutions.”

For more information about Southern Water's catchment management approach, email catchmentschemes@southernwater.co.uk