Beacons Water Group
Nigel Elgar -Project Manager, Brecon Beacons Mega Catchment Programme: Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
The Beacons Water Group is a Community Interest Company comprised of a cluster of six farmers, supported by Dŵr Cymru, Welsh Water.
The group takes inspiration from the pristine landscape of the high mountains of the Catskills, New York, whose nature-based approach to catchment management is internationally renowned. Together the group has developed an approach that recognise and values the contribution agriculture can make to protecting the water environment. The approach empowers farmers to provide solutions to water quality risks that also provide benefits to their farm businesses.
Farming For Water Quality
The project seeks to understand how we can sustainably engage farm businesses as part of a whole system approach to the management of water quality. We have been working together to identify those simple, replicable interventions that benefit both water quality and farm business efficiency, such as maximising use of bought-in fertilisers, and simple measures to prevent soil erosion and run off.
By identifying win-win solutions, we hope to develop a model that other landowners and farmers could easily pick up and implement elsewhere. This will significantly reduce risks in the raw water environment whilst supporting a thriving agricultural sector.
Many of the farm interventions being piloted have the potential to deliver improvements to our natural environment whilst contributing to tackling the challenges presented by climate change. With the support of the Beacons Water Group members and Dwr Cymru Welsh Water, we would like the National Park to contribute to and actively support the creation and facilitation of other farmer cluster groups throughout the National Park, replicating this pioneering approach.
What Y Bannau: The Future Means To Us
A thriving and balanced farming sector should be a core building block on which to build Y Bannau: The Future.
Farming has a key role to play in maintaining the beautiful landscapes and natural environment, helping to tackle the impact of climate change, as well as supporting local business, communities and Welsh culture. Sustainable farming techniques will also contribute towards helping to safeguard drinking water sources from this strategically important area for future generations.
We believe that lasting change is possible, but it will take a mindset change across public bodies and land managers. We hope that we can count on the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park to join us on this journey.