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South East River Trust Strawberries

30th May 2022

Free advice and water resilience plans for growers and farmers in Kent

Growers and farmers are well aware that Kent is one of the most water-stressed areas in the UK. With up to 30% less summer rainfall and up to 20% more winter rainfall expected within 20 years, the reality of drought and extreme weather events such as flash flooding will hit hard – and soon.

The South East Rivers Trust in collaboration with major retailers, producer organisations and marketers, works with growers by providing practical support to become more water-resilient.

Their Holistic Water for Horticulture (HWH) project, funded by signatories of the Courtauld 2030 Water Commitment, offers free visits to farms and estates to help identify ways to improve water stewardship. After a visit growers will receive an assessment with recommendations for measures to improve water resilience. SERT can help to deliver these improvements and to secure funding to make it happen.

“HWH brings together a multitude of expertise and innovation to tackle these pressing conservation issues, such as water scarcity, soil erosion and nutrient pollution, improving the current state of the Kent countryside for current and future generations.” Wayne Raines, Berry Gardens

The team are already working with growers such as Clock House Farm, Mockbeggar Ltd and Loddington Farm on activities ranging from rainwater harvesting to tree planting and floral plots.

“Through the HWH project, SERT have helped us source funding, meet experts for advice and develop the design of the water storage and nature based water treatment measures for one of our sites on the banks of the River Teise. It’s definitely worth getting in touch and booking a visit – we feel much more positive about nature friendly water resilience in the future. In fact, we have agreed to become an HWH demonstration site.”

James Smith, Loddington Farm

SERT CEO Hester Liakos says: “It’s time to work together for healthy rivers and catchments that support resilient businesses in sustainable supply chains. We’re proud to lead this project, in addition to offering support to farmers and landowners across the south east.”

If your farm or business could benefit from expert assessment of your water use and management, get in touch with the HWH project manager Dr Samantha Hughes: