The above Farm reservoirs can tackle droughts article in Farmers Weekly prompted me to write a blog post, in response to the NFU’s recommendations on the government’s Water Bill development.
I think any measure or initiative to conserve what is becoming such a valuable resource, should and needs to be supported, whatever form that that solution may take. It is after all farming’s most precious resource.
The agricultural sector is a prime example of this where large areas of land, normally providing substantial run off in some cases, could be turned over to capture whatever rainfall exists, or with impounded rivers and re-used either on the farm itself or sold off to the grid or other landowners.
It is an initiative that will reduce the need in some cases to abstract groundwater at times of drought and also contribute significantly toward the alleviation of flooding in other areas.
It is, in effect an extension of the normal rainwater harvesting, and one that should attract the full support of the government.
There are many advantages of a holding reservoir on site, but careful consideration needs to be given prior to committing to any such scheme, and approvals with planning, (although there may be some permitted development rights), the Environment Agency, if an impounding / abstraction licence and/or EIA is required, and dependent upon the capacity and elevation above the existing ground level it will also come under the Reservoir Act. Last but not least, there are the ecological considerations, although this may be considered to be improved once the reservoir is complete.
From personal experience, the data gathering can be rather prolonged, but it pays to get the Environment Agency involved at an early stage. They can advise you of the necessary legislation that has to be satisfied, and generally tend to be very supportive and help you through the process.