PROWATER: Managing landscapes for resilient water resources

From 2017 to 2022, KSCP took part in the EU-funded PROWATER project to understand how nature-based solutions can make our landscape resilient to the impacts of climate change. We were the delivery body in the Stour catchment, supporting two farmers in trials to improve soil structure to increase water infiltration

The Interreg 2 Seas project PROWATER is funded through the European Regional Development Fund and is a European partnership project. In the South East, it involves South East Rivers Trust, Kent County Council, & the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership, South East Water as well as Natural England, Southern Water, Affinity Water and SES Water.”

A story about soil, chalk & underground water

Most of East Kent’s water comes from the groundwater held in ‘aquifers’. In winter, rainwater filters slowly through the chalk and forms an underground body of water. From there, water companies abstract it and turn it into drinking water. This water also feeds our rivers. We are in a water stressed area which means less water in the ground, less water for us to use and less water for wildlife.

What’s happening to our water?

Kent’s water use is growing because there are more people living in the area. Development, drainage of land and damaged soils  from intensive farming stop water from reaching the aquifers. At the same time, climate change is making rainfall more unpredictable with flooding and droughts more likely. A history of draining water away as quickly as possible means water is lost to the sea instead of stored in our groundwater, aquifers and wetlands.

What role does soil play?

Healthy soil stores water for plants, and lets unused water filter slowly through the ground to the aquifer. Good soil catches pollutants which could make the aquifer water unusable. It stores carbon and is home to important creatures like earthworms. Soil in poor condition allows water to run off fast, contributing to flood risk, and also releases carbon.

           Where the water goes

The water cycle,

Diagram showing how healthy soil allows more water to infiltrate than unhealthy soil


Our two Trial Farms are very different, one being a Stud Farm and the second being mainly crops. Techniques to improve soil conditions include rotational grazing and use of cover crops. For further details follow the PROWATER link below. Click on Partner logos to the right of this page to see what they have to say about PROWATER and learn about the results.


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