Thames Water, in collaboration with FWAG SW, is working diligently to improve water quality in specific target areas while also enhancing farm productivity, efficiency, and biodiversity. As part of this initiative, funds have been earmarked for priority catchment groups, each with a distinctive focus on nitrates, pesticides, or both.


The primary objective here is to protect surface waters from pesticide contamination. By conducting regular water tests, we can monitor chemicals such as propyzamide and flufenacet, identifying potential concerns related to overuse. Such excessive usage can arise from challenges like increased black-grass and other weed pressures. One effective strategy is to modify the cropping system, such as diversifying crop rotation with legume leys or using under-sown spring cereals in bicropping to mitigate black-grass pressures. If pesticides remain essential, we provide guidance to enhance pesticide application efficiency and reduce runoff, thereby minimizing water contamination risks.


The focus is protecting groundwater from nitrate pollution, commonly caused by the runoff of artificial fertilisers and manure. Elevated nitrate levels can compromise water's drinkability and instigate environmental complications like eutrophication—leading to excessive plant and algal growth that depletes oxygen in waterways. Several strategies, including establishing leguminous herbal leys, incorporating a cover crop, and refining livestock manure and wastewater management, can significantly reduce nitrate pollution. Notably, substantial increase in costs of ammonium nitrate and granular urea suggest that limiting artificial input could also boost your business's financial performance.

The Thames Water's 2023 Catchment Fund is now open for applications.  The fund now offers up to £15,000 per business per year in contributions towards crop and land management, farm infrastructure, training courses and technical advancements that will protect water quality. 

New to 2023 is the Bespoke Water Quality Improvement Project, offering up to £40,000 for projects that will help improve water quality longer term. This scheme offers the same funding rates as the Catchment Fund, but it’s more competitive, prioritising applications that will have the greatest benefit to water quality. The good news is you can apply for both in the same year.

To aid in achieving area-specific targets, we're hosting events in association with Thames Water, addressing topics like living mulches and innovative blackgrass control.

Moreover, our newsletter will keep you informed about the best practices and details on available grants, ensuring you're always at the forefront of water conservation efforts.