The NFU accepted position on new group created to develop integrated water management plan for Norfolk.
Core members of the group include Water Resources East (WRE), Norfolk County Council, Anglian Water and The Nature Conservancy.
The county-wide sustainable water management plan aims to secure access to good quality, long-term water resources for all water users while delivering landscape scale environmental improvement. It will showcase Norfolk as an international exemplar for collaborative and integrated water management.
The NFU recently launched its own integrated water management strategy.
Nick Deane, outgoing chair of the NFU Norfolk County Branch, will represent the NFU on the group charged with the plan's development.
The East in general, and Norfolk in particular, already face increased pressures on water resources with farmers, homes and businesses experiencing the impacts of extreme weather events, including increased flooding incidents and localised shortages of water supplies.
The Norfolk plan will be developed over the next two years. Farming will form a central part of the plan which will focus on water availability – including water for food production – whilst testing and implementing nature-based solutions (NBS) for managing water in the county.
These could include the creation of wetlands, woodlands and storage reservoirs to capture and slow the flow of floodwaters to reduce or prevent flooding to homes and businesses while utilising stored water to provide additional water supply in summer.
Piloting financing opportunities
The plan will propose payment models for these ‘public goods’ – who pays and how much – by piloting private and public financing opportunities by creating a ‘Water Fund’ governance structure.
Water Funds are a well-established model for facilitating collective action to address water security challenges through a mix of nature-based solutions, alongside water demand management and more traditional so-called ‘grey’ infrastructure, such as pipelines and treatment plants.