Catchments can vary greatly in size and depending upon where they are can include mountains, farmland, cities and towns. All of these, in particular human activity, can affect how the water flows through the area as well as the quality of the water.
Some activities that impact water quality include:
- Organic wastes
- Mining operations
These activities can cause small amounts of pollutants to be washed into water across a wide area and whilst on their own they are relatively minor, once they collect together they can significantly affect the quality of water. These pollutants can include pesticides and fertilisers from farms and oil and chemicals from cars and roads as well as industry and business.
Catchment management plays an important role in meeting our environmental leadership ambition.
Between 2015 and 2020, we worked in partnership with United Utilities and the Welsh Dee Trust to undertake catchment investigations and schemes in surface water catchments around the River Dee.
This programme of work allowed us to sustainably and cost beneficially manage water quality risks. During that period, our catchment advisers engaged with local farmers, partners and stakeholders to secure agreement and ownership at catchment scale on key pollution issues and solutions.
From 2020, we will build on this work and continue to look for opportunities to work in partnership with farmers to:
- Improve drinking water quality
- Reduce the need for additional water treatment
- Provide wider environmental benefits in our catchments.