[Source: East Anglian Daily Times]
A scheme collecting fresh drain water which would otherwise be lost to the sea has so far harvested 800,000 tonnes to irrigate fields on the Suffolk coast.
A range of national organisations visited Felixstowe Hydrocycle on June 9/10 to see the pump system divert drainage water into a series of 14 farm reservoirs belonging to six farmers. As well as providing local landowners with valuable water to irrigate their crops, it also helps conserve the salt marsh near Kingsfleet on the Suffolk coast.
Local farmers and landowners were also at the event, where they heard first-hand from the operators and those farmers benefiting from the scheme.
It is hoped other farmers in Suffolk, the UK and Europe will be inspired to set up similar systems. The pilot was by FRESH4Cs, a joint UK, Belgian and Dutch project backed by the European Union.
The two-day outing was organised by Suffolk County Council, which worked with key partners the Environment Agency and University of East Anglia on the project.
Andrew Williams, director of Home Farm Nacton – one of the beneficiaries of the Hydrocycle scheme – said:
“The attraction of this project was affordable and sustainable water. All the landowners are of a similar mindset, they understand that we’ve all got to get our share of this water. It’s a project for the future, but even last year when water was pumped into us as our reservoirs went down, it gives you the confidence that you can get through the season and give the crops everything they need – it’s already been extremely beneficial.”