Climate resilient Community-based Catchment planning and management
Priority AxisAdaptation to Climate Change
Adaptation to Climate Change
Lead partnerSomerset County Council
Project budget5 108 892 €
ERDF amount3 065 335 €
Climate change is predicted to involve more extreme rainfall events with accelerated loss of topsoil, and hence an increased risk of flooding and drought. This increase in natural risks is combined with a low awareness of the impact and risks of climate change. Given the high economic impacts of flooding, there is a need to maintain and strengthen adaptive capacity in the coastal hinterland areas. New solutions need to be developed and applied to improve resilience. In a context of reduced public financing, better, more robust and cost-effective erosion control and flood defenses are needed.
The objective is to implement a set of cost-effective, innovative actions to reduce flooding. A new participative approach to problem solving and implementation with landowners will be developed. Upstream implementation of the water retention and erosion control measures will reduce flooding and associated issues further downstream. This will result in an additional 168,000m3 water storage, €6.1M cost savings from reduced flood damages and dredging costs, and 1150 households with enhanced flood protection. Successful solutions will be replicable in other regions.
- Implementation and demonstration of water retention features and erosion control measures, and method developed to build knowledge capacity and effective implementation.
- An enhanced knowledge base will stimulate application of principles elsewhere.
Cross border approach
Whilst the participating catchments have different agricultural landscapes they share similar flooding and erosion problems and each country has its own distinct approaches with associated strengths and weaknesses. There is however a market failure in that whilst low cost techniques that offer multiple benefits exist, they are not widely implemented, and flooding problems are increasing. With a cross border approach we can take the best of these differing approaches and skills and develop new hybrid approaches that improve the coordination between strategy and ground-based actions.
Information exchange between partners gave new insights and inspirations.
Catchment based networks have been set up in all 6 catchments. These are clusters of farmers and water managers co-developing solutions that will enable the continued tackling of problems beyond the life of the project. Such innovative farmer-led networks are building knowledge, commitment and skills within the farming community and land management advisors, essential for better understanding, acceptance and uptake of climate adaptation measures in farmed landscapes.
Model simulations of soil ersoion have been performed for the different catchments. The refined model that will enable targeted and costefficient implementation of 30 different erosion control measures in 4 catchments, leading to an estimated 30% reduction in soil erosion.
Triple C projects in Somerset won the 2018 UK Rivers Prize and the catchment scale project prize. The prize resulted in a lot of publicity both locally and nationally. This national and regional coverage has enabled our work to be fed into other projects, both within Somerset and across England. A number of Somerset projects have been developed to carry on work to reduce flood risk and erosion after the end of Triple C. A series of Advice sheets developed by FWAG and the EA have been shared nationally.
With all four summers of project fieldwork completed, the Devon project is pleased to report that they have exceeded their overall project targets for both wet grassland restoration and new wet grassland creation, leading to significant water storage benefits.
In Flanders, the collaboration between partners has resulted in a series of demo/trial fields which has ensured an awakening of interest among farmers and makes the implementation of ECM more accessible for farmers and landowners. Inagro has realised 6 leaky ponds in West-Flanders. For the design of these ponds they used experience from other project partners.
Province of Antwerp have re-naturalised the watersystem. These measures have realized double the expected water retention capacity. The farmers have become enthusiastic about the measures, and more are showing an interest in getting involved.
ZLTO / WBD anticipated that their measures would be useful in times of heavy rainfall, however the very dry summers of 2018 and 2019 demonstrated that the measures were also useful for retaining water in the soil. The farmers see that they are able to use them in all circumstances, and are enthusiastic.