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Sleaford groups consulted on water use futures


Representatives of civic groups and local council members have been invited to a meeting on Monday 1st November to discuss how they see land and water uses in the Slea catchment changing in the future. The meeting is being organised by Sleaford Development Group at the Solo Club, Seaford and will brief those attending about a study investigating ways to manage nitrate pollution of groundwater.

The study, being carried out in collaboration with the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia at Norwich, is part of a three year project named Water4All involving international partnerships with Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany and the UK Environment Agency.

All four partner countries face problems arising from nitrate pollution of groundwater. The Water4All partners are investigating different ways in which land use changes may help to tackle this issue. Transnational seminars and traineeships are being organised to learn from each other’s experience and share best practice.

The Slea catchment area has been chosen for study in the UK because of the relatively high ground and surface water nitrate levels, the availability of monitoring data and because land use in the area is typical of much of lowland England. At present, the UEA project team is constructing a computer model of land use and water flows in the area and holding a number of meetings like this one at Sleaford with interested parties, including farmers and land managers, planners and nature conservation organisations.

Dr Andrew Lovett of UEA said “It is really important to have the participation of these various interest groups. Their insights will be developed into a number of land use scenarios and our computer model will be used to assess the consequences for nitrate levels in groundwater and the associated river system. The results from this exercise will identify the types of changes needed to ensure that nitrate levels remain within acceptable limits and we will then hold further discussions to examine the practicalities of achieving such an outcome.”

At the end of the Water4All project a handbook will be produced to help planners and land managers in affected areas incorporate practical measures for groundwater protection into their decision making. The study is funded by the Interreg IIIB North Sea Region Programme and other European partners are Aalborg Municipality (Denmark), Provincie Drenthe (the Netherlands), and Bezirksregierung Weser-Ems (Germany).

Cathy Young | alfa
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