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Affinity and Cambridge Water team up with farmers for cover crop scheme

Affinity Water and Cambridge Water have announced a partnership with 18 farms to use a cover crop scheme to stop 37.4 tonnes of nitrate leaching into the chalk aquifers which are used to supply drinking water.

Cover crops play an important role in improving farm productivity and enhancing the natural environment.

These crops, grown in the autumn and winter months between cash crops, are an excellent way to capture excess nitrate left in the soil.

Without a cover crop this nitrate has the potential to leach into the aquifer or into nearby rivers, increasing the nitrate concentration which would then require water treatment.

Aside from the benefits to water quality, growing a cover crop can also help build organic matter in soils, protect them from erosion and can attract farmland birds and other wildlife to increase biodiversity.

Affinity Water is working with Cambridge Water in North Hertfordshire and South Cambridgeshire to fund the growing of cover crops through the EnTrade auction process.

Affinity Water director of corporate affairs and communities Jake Rigg said: “This is a win, win, win situation – we are investing for the long term continuation of quality water, farmers receive a payment for delivering a service that protects and enhances their natural assets, and the environment benefits as we capture residual nitrate which may have otherwise leached into the water.

“Cover crops are also fantastic for our planet – often called ‘pop-up rainforests’ for their ability to capture carbon from our atmosphere.

“This is a very strong result in only our second year of this mitigation programme. Enhancing natural capital in our catchments, using the EnTrade platform, is just one of the initiatives which Affinity Water is progressing to provide high quality water and, with the help of farmers in our region, take care of our communities’ environment now and for future generations.”

Topic: Drinking water quality , Sustainability & social value

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