Addressing groundwater pollution can be an extremely difficult task. Our understanding of water movement underground is often limited and based on prediction models. Additionally, a pollution event can be very difficult to locate and may have occurred 20-40 years before the impact on groundwater is noticeable. These factors make it difficult for landowners to justify the cost of management.
Although environmental restrictions have been applied (Nitrate Vulnerable Zones) to enforce wide-scale actions to reduce nutrient movement into groundwater, more can be done. CamEO’s Topsoils project aims to take the first step in working with farmers in the catchment to understand what can be done to protect groundwaters further.
Update – Winter 2016
The Rivers Trust and Anglian Water have finalised the project scope for a CamEO Topsoils project, linked with wider EU objectives aiming to increase the capacity and quality of groundwater by 20%, whilst reducing groundwater flooding by 20%. This project will not only deliver agricultural advice, but will ask farmers how they can make changes to their business plans to reduce the transfer of fertiliser nutrients (particularly nitrate) through farmland soil and into groundwater sources.
This issue is a significant one, with 14 groundwater drinking water sources within the CamEO catchment already facing nitrate contamination.
More project information coming soon…