United Utilities Raw Water Project

Pennington Reservoir

South Cumbria Rivers Trust have recently employed a project officer to work on the United Utilities Raw Water Project. United Utilities recognise the benefits for adopting a catchment systems approach to protecting and improving water quality.  They have therefore, engaged and funded South Cumbria Rivers Trust to deliver a catchment based project in the upper Duddon, Poaka and Pennington reservoir catchments in the Furness area and Levers Water, near Coniston.

The project:

Example of an area contributing to diffuse pollution of silt and other potential pollutants.

The project aims to carry out practical works and engagement in these areas to improve water quality, habitats, naturalise flow regimes and reduce negative impacts on the river. As a water company, United Utilities extract from these three locations for drinking water. Therefore, securing a more stable, high quality water supply suitable for abstraction is crucial. Primary issues of concern are;

  • Silt and sediment input
  • Slurry applications issues and run-off
  • Herbicides
  • Natural Flood (and flow) Management Opportunities
  • Coliforms
  • Acid Spikes

Example of poaching near an open watercourse in the Duddon Valley

The catchment approach also requires working collaboratively with other partners, including Catchment Sensitive Farming, the Environment Agency and local partnerships.

Since late July/ August the project has been gathering steam and presence in the catchments is building. The project officer has undertaken walkovers in the Duddon and Poaka Beck catchment to become more familiar with the areas. This has been supported by data and evidence collation to identify targeted areas for improvement. The project officer has also made links with other initiatives such as the Restoring Hardknott Forest project, run by the University of Leeds. The team here were keen to see what the project site could offer in terms of water quality improvements, and also discussed options for installing Natural Flood Management interventions.

Other project achievements to date:

  • progressed first few water quality improvements in the poaka catchment
  • First tree planting schemes agreed
  • Worked with Cumbria County Council highways team to resolve a surface water issue that was contributing to an agricultural pollution issue.

If you’d like to find out more about South Cumbria Rivers Trust and the projects they run, please visit their website.