Working together for water resilience: better businesses in a healthier catchment.
How will we get there?
The HWH Project is about working together to build resilience.
HWH uses innovative thinking and nature based processes to benefit businesses and the environment. Growers can request a farm visit from the HWH team to talk about water issues and needs and obtain a Farm Plan.
HWH stakeholders become part of a bigger picture to innovate and collaborate in water management.
This project focuses on soft fruit growing businesses in the Medway but the HWH approach can be rolled out to different forms of horticulture and agriculture. HWH works to help make farms fit for the future by sharing knowledge and resources that allow them to adapt and thrive under climate change.
The HWH project promotes innovation for water self-sufficiency.
It demonstrates how measures such as rainwater harvesting and storage of polytunnel runoff can be used for irrigation. Improved on-site water self-sufficiency means a more resilient business.
It benefits the grower, helps to “free up” water for other stakeholders in the catchment and reduces stress on river ecosystems through over abstraction.
Working With Nature
HWH works with growers to use nature-based measures.
By working with nature, HWH can slow excess runoff, reduce soil erosion and prevent nutrients reaching local waterbodies.
Measures may include wetlands, sediment traps or floral buffer strips. These natural solutions help reduce flood risk, improve water and soil quality, help boost local biodiversity and can even contribute to carbon storage.
The Bigger Picture
HWH brings together growers, retailers and other key stakeholders (e.g. water companies) to work towards building resilience into the Medway soft fruit sector.
HWH focuses on working for change through dialogue, clear guidance and on the ground advice.
HWH demonstration sites will show how the components of this holistic approach can fit together to bring multiple benefits and mitigate impacts at different scales.
HWH is a Courtauld Commitment 2030 (C2030) project managed by the South East Rivers Trust in collaboration with Kent County Council and NIAB EMR.
A voluntary agreement, C2030 enables collaborative action to deliver farm-to-fork reductions in food waste, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water stress, thereby supporting the UK food and drink sector to achieve global environmental goals.
HWH is about stewardship. The HWH team works with retailers, growers and other supply chain and catchment stakeholders [such as water companies] across the Medway – a key sourcing area. Their aim is to address challenges around water resources for food supply, for nature and for local communities and meet the overall C2030 water targets, summarised below:
“As well as businesses continuing to increase water use efficiency in their own operations, our combined objective is that, by 2030, the UK food and drink industry will have helped to achieve sustainable water management to improve the quality and availability of water at catchment scale in the top 20 most important product and ingredient sourcing areas in the UK and overseas.
“The overall target is that, by 2030, 50% of fresh food is sourced from areas with sustainable water management.”
Working together with retailers which are C2030 signatories, we are using the C2030 water roadmap to guide us towards meeting these targets. The roadmap sets out a vision and key pathways necessary to address the challenges around water.