Following what has been considered one of the wettest winters on record, recent weeks have seen extended dry spells, with swathes of the UK basking in the hottest days of the year so far. With little rain forecast in the coming weeks, Midlands water company Severn Trent is urging farmers to look ahead and plan for the potentially dry summer weeks to come.
“We rely heavily on water, and protecting its quality and availability is top of our agenda”, explains Dr Jodie Rettino, Severn Trent catchment and biodiversity lead. “For now, water levels remain consistent, but with the fair weather due to continue, we urge farmers to assess their water management systems early, to prevent shortages later down the line.”
With an increased demand on the network, small changes can make all the difference, from changing a leaking tap to using rainwater storage bowsers.
Dr Rettino continues, “In times of water shortage, farms fall into the third emergency category, behind emergency services and residences, so those farms in areas that are prone to water related issues are encouraged to build their own resilience.”
To aid this process, Severn Trent is inviting farmers to apply for the Severn Trent Environmental Protection Scheme (STEPS) funding through their extended grant scheme which is now open for applications. “With many farmers missing out on the winter round of STEPS applications, we are providing another opportunity to receive a £5,000 of match funded grant”, she explains. “The scheme is open to farmers in priority catchments who can choose from a specially selected pre-defined list of water quality options, inlcuding rainwater harvesting equipment.”
Applications are open now until 22 June. Those interested in applying are encouraged to contact their agricultural advisor to deem their suitability.
How to apply for STEPS:
- Find out if you’re in a priority catchment www.stwater.co.uk/catchment
- Read the STEPS options list to find out about the available options www.stwater.co.uk/steps
- If needed, speak to your local agricultural advisor for support
- Submit your application between 15 May and 22 June www.stwater.co.uk/steps
What you should do in the event of a supply interruption:
- Identify the source of the issue. Are you on a public or private water supply system?
- Find out if the issue is localised. Is it just your farm or the wider area?
- Contact your water retailer to let them know, they should also contact us.
- Contact Severn Trent on 0800 783 4444 our team will take some key information from you and then pass this to our Network Control team.
- Be prepared to describe your daily water requirements. Use the AHDB Dairy Water Audit to help.
- We will endeavour to prioritise your farm and call you back as soon as possible.