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Severn Trent

A collaborative partnership approach for catchment management.

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  • What we know
  • What we’re doing
  • What it’s worth
  • Testimonial

What we know

Severn Trent is working to protect biodiversity by tackling several key challenges: lowering the abstraction of water, improving water quality, and safeguarding against drought, flooding and temperature extremes. It has committed to reducing unsustainable abstraction by 100 ml/day.

 

 

 

 

What we’re doing

To achieve its goal, Severn Trent is working in partnership with regulators and other stakeholders to develop sustainable solutions at several locations. Elsewhere, they have moved to alternative sources of water instead of draining existing resources.

It is also working to educate and encourage consumers to use less water.

Severn Trent has an initiative called ‘Farming 4 Water’ – a catchment management programme it uses to improve the quality of water released back into nature.

It is working with over 5,000 farmers to help them reduce the agricultural run-off that pollutes the water supply, emphasizing reducing pesticides, cryptosporidium, phosphates, and other chemicals leaching into local water.

Severn trent workers looking at clipboard

It has also offered farmers other nature-based solutions such as planting wildflower borders in fields to reduce pesticide spray drift, creating beetle banks to help precious soils being washed away through heavy rainfall, and planting native trees and hedgerows to slow the flow and create natural flood management. 

Another focus is on reducing high phosphate levels in soils – a legacy of over-fertilisation. This has largely been achieved through the use of giant ‘phosphate socks’ placed along the edge of farmers’ fields and in streams to absorb phosphate and sediment.

Initial trials of this method have shown it could remove up to 99% phosphorous in run-off, saving £13m in capital costs in just one catchment.

Partnership and collaboration are key to this approach.

All of the company’s work has been independently verified by environmental NGOs. 

Otter popping its head out the water

What it’s worth

Over the past five years, Severn Trent has improved over 3,000 hectares of land through a wide range of projects and programmes with a wide range of partners. Projects have ranged from small and local through urban initiatives to large scale landscape restoration.

As a result of these efforts, it has helped improve water quality, the environment, and its bottom line. In one catchment area alone, the company saved £40m-worth of investment it might otherwise have had to spend on upgrading water treatment works.

Improvements to biodiversity have included planting 1.3 million trees to help natural flood management, establishing wildflower meadows that act as flood barriers, and encouraging beneficial insects and birds to improve pollination and reduce the risk of chemical runoff.

In addition, moorland has been restored – an important habitat for birds, making the soil less prone to erosion, reducing the impact of flooding along rivers. Meanwhile, Bog and peatland restoration has replenished habitats that trap and store millions of tonnes of carbon and absorb vast quantities of water.

 

 

Testimonial

Liv Garfield

For us, it’s a real win-win situation. These projects allow us to give something back to the communities we serve and boost biodiversity across the region – which has proven to dramatically improve water quality as part of the process."

Liv Garfield CEO, Severn Trent
Paul wilkinson

These exciting projects illustrate that serious investment in nature’s recovery is good for wildlife, communities and businesses. Working in partnership with Severn Trent, we have the power to address the climate and ecological emergencies through local action.”

Paul Wilkinson CEO, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

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