On Wednesday January 14th, 2019, partners of the Western Rother catchment met at Southern Water offices to discuss the actions that will be taken to implement payments for ecosystem services in the catchment.
Around the table, representatives from the Environment Agency, University of Chichester, South Downs National Park Authority and Southern Water discussed the actions required to build a payment for ecosystem services scheme in the catchment during the next two years.
The plan begins with an exercise indentifying and mapping erosion and deposition on a farm in the catchment They will carry out further trials of erosion mitigation measures at Woolbeding Farm in collaboration with the National Trust.and connectivity to the river. They will carry out further trials of erosion measures at the farm. Experts from the Universities of Oxford and Northampton will also help these studies thanks to their experience and knowledge of erosion issues in the catchment. In addition, the link between river water qulity and soil erosion will be quantified to forecast sediment loads in the river so that the abstraction can be managed to avoid periods when high suspended sediment loads and associated pollutants could affect raw water quality.
Thanks to these studies, they will identify mitigation measures that they can be quickly implemented on the ground. The partners will monitor the effectiveness of these measures at the field, farm and catchment scale during 3 years, which will compliment Southern Water’s existing catchment water quality monitoring. The wider benefits of the mitigation measures delivered for natural capital & ecosystem services will also be monitored.