Led by Prof. Richard Brazier from the University of Exeter’s Geography Department, with Impact Fellows Dr Donna Carless, Dr Michela Faccioli and Mandy Robinson, this project will work with a range of regional stakeholders to develop a unique, comprehensive and integrated catchment scale approach to managing water quality.
The project will include a focused partnership with South West Water (SWW) and the organisations that it works with to deliver its Upstream and Downstream Thinking Programmes (including Westcountry Rivers Trust and the Devon, Cornwall Wildlife Trusts and the Environment Agency).
Freshwater quantity and quality are key environmental concerns for the South West, including surface water flooding, water pollution from agricultural and industrial activities, urban runoff and sewage. These issues threaten numerous economic activities that rely either directly or indirectly on the quality of water, including the delivery of clean drinking water, fish and shellfish aquaculture, recreational fishing and the use of the region’s freshwater and coastal waters as tourism destinations.
This project plans to build an integrated, spatially explicit, catchment-based environmental model to drive a programme of interventions that deliver improvements in water quality that, in turn, yield substantial benefits for the South West economy. The unique tool developed in this project will be invaluable to identify areas at present and future risk from a wide range of impacts that degrade natural capital and pose an economic threat to stakeholders and ecosystem and public health. It will equally help to identify business opportunities identifying locations where water resources are most resilient.