Defra announces £1.6m in farm water management grant

The government has released details of a new grant that will be available to farmers to help store water and protect against drought.

The £1.6m fund will be used by groups of farmers to investigate different methods to manage water in their area.

Projects could include multi-farm reservoirs, treated waste-water recycling systems, and water trading and sharing schemes.

See also: Britain’s most flooded farmer not eligible for recovery fund

Applications are now open, and groups of two or more neighbouring farms are eligible to apply.

The fund will support about 20 studies and will also investigate water demand and availability in the most water-stressed agricultural areas over the next 25-year period.

The closing date for applications is midnight on 16 June.

Water minister Robbie Moore said: “Water is our most valuable resource, and we want to support farmers to come together to manage it efficiently on their land.

“By storing water when it’s wet, they’ll have more to use when it’s dry – helping to support food production and boost the resilience of farm businesses across the country.”

Defra says the initiative delivers on prime minister Rishi Sunak’s commitment to helping support farmers to build resilience in terms of water supply as a part of a wider plan to support food production and safeguard food security.

Philip Duffy, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: “Climate change, increased demand, and the need to protect the environment mean that up to 5bn extra litres of water will be needed in England every day by 2050.

“By working together, farmers can make a huge positive impact in improving our use of water resources, making sure they have water to use in times of drought and safeguarding our food security.”

Guidance on how to apply is available online.