Surface water

We work with farmers in our surface water catchments to help protect our water supply.

Our surface water catchments

Each of our surface water catchments have been designated as a drinking water safeguard zones (SGZ) by the Environment Agency.

Within these zones, specific substances must be managed carefully to prevent the pollution of raw water sources that are used to provide drinking water.

Why is surface water catchment management important?

The water that flows into our surface water reservoirs comes from a number of sources over many miles, but it can become polluted by nutrients, pesticides and other chemicals on its way.

Although we treat and clean this water, the more pollutants present the more difficult and expensive this process is, which is why we work with farmers to prevent them from entering our supply at the source.

Working with farmers

We work with the farmers inside SGZs to reduce the risk of pollution and support changes that will have a positive impact on water quality and the wider environment.

Some of this work has included:

  • raising awareness of surface water quality issues
  • sharing the results of water, soil, crop and manure testing that we have carried out for farmers
  • providing advice and information about ways of improving the efficiency of how their crops use key inputs, such as fertilisers and pesticides
  • supporting farmers to adopt alternative practices to protect water, such as establishing buffer strips to prevent soil and pesticides from washing into watercourses.

For more information about surface water catchment management, please email