We're proud to be a part of Interreg, a programme which aims to address the impacts of climate change and enhance the availability of raw water.

The cross-border project we're working together on is called PROWATER, which stands for 'protecting and restoring raw water sources through actions at the landscape scale'.

The four-year project has a budget of more than €5.5 million. It is part funded by the Interreg 2 Seas development fund and part by project partners. The project receives 3.3m through the Interreg 2 Seas Fund (ERDF).

Why is it needed?

The south east of England is classified as seriously water stressed by the Environment Agency. 

Climate projections point to drier and warmer summers with more extreme and concentrated heavy rainfall events and severe droughts. This is expected to result in a higher demand for water production.

For the south east of England, this is a huge challenge. The region is already the most densely populated in the UK, with high population growth of up to 14% by 2024 predicted. Many of our rivers and aquifers are already under severe resource pressure and the prospect of even higher demand is of serious concern.

How will PROWATER help?

The PROWATER project will contribute to climate adaptation by restoring water storage in the environment through catchment management. Examples of this are forest conservation, natural water retention and restoration of compacted soils. These are all examples of Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) measures. 

These interventions aim to increase resilience against droughts and floods and will also benefit water quality and biodiversity. Over the next few years the project partners will carry out various exemplary projects on their sites and will showcase them to the public.

The benefits of the EbA measures will then be identified and assessed so that a ‘Payment for Ecosystem Services’ model can be developed. Based on this model, the organisations that take measures to combat water scarcity will then receive compensation. In return, the idea is that they will provide services to society by improving the quality of the living environment.

Over its four years the project will seek to contribute to climate change adaptation by:

  • Increasing awareness of the potential consequences of climate change
  • Enabling stakeholders to develop a collective approach towards planning and innovative solutions for environmental and economic resilience
  • Improving adaptation strategies and actions, and the mechanisms for cross-border exchange of information and data relating to the expected effects of climate change
  • Developing policy guidance on a reward scheme for EbA measures that promotes resource restoration
  • Developing tools to evaluate EbA measures and to quantify the co-benefits of EbA measures
  • Assessing the long term vision of water demand and supply challenges in the region
  • Implementing EbA measures in three pilot areas, in our south east of England region, to showcase their positive effect

Who are the partners?

The partners from Flanders are: de Vlaamse Overheid (Departement Omgeving), Universiteit Antwerpenprovincie Antwerpen, PIDPA and Natuurpunt.

The partner from the Netherlands is: Waterschap Brabantse Delta.

The partners from the United Kingdom are: Westcountry Rivers Trust, Kent Count Council, South East Water and South East Rivers Trust.

For more information about the project please go to www.interreg2seas.eu/en/PROWATER. To find out more about our involvement with the project please email Debbie Wilkinson (debbie.wilkinson@southeastwater.co.uk).

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