In East Anglia we experience both drought and floods. It is sometimes difficult to find enough water to supply our homes and irrigate crops without damaging our valuable rivers and wetlands. At other times we can’t drain it off the land and pump it away to sea fast enough.

The aim of the Holistic Water Management Project, overseen by the Project Board, is to link these aspects of water management and develop new ways of delivering flood alleviation, more reliable water resources, and improved water based ecosystems.

Project Progress

Stage 1: Start up, March 2013

A Project Group was formed with representatives from the local authorities, Environment Agency, water companies, organisations and environmentalists. View the Membership of the Project Board.

Stage 2: Catchment selection, May 2013 to July 2013

We compared all of Suffolk’s river catchments to identify which had the right combination of features; environmental, water demand, flood risk and drought risk, to make it most suitable for a pilot study. The Deben catchment was selected.

This presentation outlines the criteria used in making this decision. Information has been gathered about the catchment such as where floods occur and how much ‘excess’ water is available; where water is needed to support river flows and habitats and how much water is needed by agricultural abstraction and water companies. Using this data we came up with an initial list of possible ideas that the project might deliver, and following consultation with key stakeholders we are taking a number of ideas forward through various working groups.

Stage 3: Options development, August 2013 to October 2013

We collected information about flooding, water resources management and the environment in the Deben catchment and identified a number of options which could deliver the aims of the Holistic Water Management project. These are summarised here.

Stage 4 – Consultation, November 2013 to December 2013

We have undertaken local consultation on these ideas and it is clear we have a great deal of support to try to put these ideas into action. There are a number of key pointers that indicate the approach we are suggesting is both desirable and possible – the Internal Drainage Board pumps will soon need replacing/relocating; there is unmet demand from agricultural irrigators; Anglian Water is keen to secure additional public water supply and the River Deben is failing to meet Water Framework Directive standards.

Current Stage:

The Project Board has set up six working groups, to take forward various aspects of the project. These groups are shown in the diagram below and can be accessed individually from the HWMP home page.

For an outline summary of programme costs, benefits, timeframes and potential funding sources view the Programme Summary.

Project Updates

For a summary of our work view the below updates:

Autumn 2016

December 2015

August 2015

July 2014

Oct 2014