Ouse initiative on quality of water

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South East Water has started working with local farmers to improve the water quality of the River Ouse.

The company, which supplies drinking water to 2.1 million customers, is keen to reduce the amount of soil, nutrients and pesticides finding their way into the watercourse.

Simon Lohrey, South East Water’s Sussex Ouse Catchment Project Officer, said the initiative was designed to be beneficial to farmers as well as South East Water.

He said: “We consider ourselves one of the guardians of the environment and place a high priority on the protection of our water resources. As part of that we are looking at practical ways to prevent fertiliser and pesticides washing from fields and entering the river. Obviously removing these substances at the treatment works is very costly so tackling the issue at source is beneficial for our customers and farmers alike.”

At a recent event, South East Water brought together farmers and landowners plus agricultural and water industry specialists to discuss the issue. Guests toured the treatment works where they saw the technical processes needed to produce top quality, safe and clean drinking water.

Mr Lohrey added: “This was very much about everyone getting together and talking about the issues.

“Pesticides, fertilisers and even soil itself are a valuable asset to farmers and preventing them from running into the river is as important to them as it is to us.

“Improving the quality of the raw water we treat, ultimately leads to cost savings for our customers as well as improving the overall health of the River Ouse.”