Construction of an on-farm reservoir© Tim Scrivener

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has urged farmers to make use of new grant funding available to improve and construct water resources.

The £14m funding for Water Resource Management grants were first announced in July under the Countryside Productivity Scheme. 

See also: Defra makes £40m available for farm productivity grants 

Initially a deadline of early April 2018 was set for applications. But this has now been extended until the end of June next year.

The aim is to improve farm and horticultural productivity through more efficient use of water for irrigation and to secure water supplies for crop irrigation by the construction of on-farm reservoirs.

What grants can be used for

  • Reservoir construction
  • Pumps, controls and pipework for the reservoir
  • Computer software that improves efficiency
  • Water meters
  • Certain irrigators

CLA rural adviser Katy Anderson urged farmers to make use of the money before it was too late.

“Grants like this are not always available. A previous scheme closed back in January 2016 so it is extremely important that anyone considering making improvements to water resource management does not miss out.

The scheme is also EU-backed so the Brexit process casts further doubt over long-term funding packages like this.

Ms Anderson explained the grant could be used to fund up to 40% of a project’s total cost.

There is also a minimum grant amount of £35,000. That means with the grant accounting for 40% of the total, the minimum overall project size that would be considered is £87,500.

Ms Anderson also pointed out it was important to note planning consent and relevant abstraction licences for the project must be in place before any applications would be considered.

Without these the application will not be looked at, Ms Anderson said.

She added the funding was limited so the application process was competitive.

“Applicants with projects demonstrating improved productivity, business growth, efficiency and better financial resilience stand more chance of gaining funding,” she advised.

“Collaborative ventures between farms also stand a better chance,” she added.

How to apply

Applications can be made via the RPA website. 

An online guidance booklet is also available [PDF]