SCaMP 3 - Safeguard zones
SCaMP continues through a targeted approach driven by drinking water safeguard zones (SZ). These zones are drinking water catchments where water quality in rivers, reservoirs or groundwater is deteriorating and is becoming harder to treat, due to human activities on the land. SZ can be used to target measures, advice and incentive schemes for landowners and managers to help improve water quality.
Within the North West the Environment Agency has designated 20 surface water and 9 groundwater catchments as Safeguard Zones. We cannot solve all of the issues on our own so we are working with stakeholders such as Natural England, Rivers Trusts, National Trust, RSPB, Moors for the Future and Catchment Sensitive Farming who have overlapping interests. And the even better news is that a lot of the actions that benefit water quality also benefit the wider environment such as wildlife.
Our approach will combine both investment on our land with investment in partnerships on non-owned catchments to address deteriorating raw water quality. We will apply the SCaMP methods to moorland restoration, woodland planting, agricultural advice and diffuse pollution source-pathway investigations.
As well as benefiting the wider environment, this catchment work will also benefit customers by improving water quality and reducing the level of treatment required at our water treatment works. This helps minimise the need for future treatment works investment which in turn is helping to keep customer bills low.
Between 2015 and 2020 we are investing in 29 SZ projects across the North West. The zones have been designated to address issues with colour, algae and pesticides in surface waters; and nitrates, pathogens and solvents in ground waters. The funding is focused on the highest priority areas and in places where we can maximise the benefits of partnership working. We continue to monitor raw water quality in all drinking water protected areas and we work with the Environment Agency to designate new SZ where a programme of voluntary measures would be beneficial for all stakeholders.
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