We want to engage with those we work with at a catchment level to encourage greater local participation and achieve more for communities and the water environment.
Why work at a catchment level?
On World Water Day (22 March 2011), Richard Benyon, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, announced that to bring about genuine improvements to the water environment we should:
'Provide a clear understanding of the issues in the catchment, involve local communities in decision-making by sharing evidence, listening to their ideas, working out priorities for action and seeking to deliver integrated actions that address local issues in a cost effective way and protect local resources.'
In April 2011 we began piloting new approaches in 10 catchments across England, followed by a further 15 pilots established in January 2012 by external organisations. The pilot phase finished in December 2013.
Partnerships now cover all but one of the 87 water management catchments in England, and five out of the six catchments that cross the border with Wales. We recognise that different partnerships will develop at different rates, some are already well established, others will require more time. We have a list of the catchment partnerships and a map showing coverage across England and the cross border catchments.
What is a catchment?
There are 93 catchments in England, six of which cross borders with Wales. A catchment is an area with several, often interconnected, water bodies (rivers, lakes, groundwater and coastal waters). Many of the problems facing our water environments are best understood and tackled at a catchment level.
The first two links below take you to a map of the catchments, and highlight where the pilots or wider initiatives took place (see the section on wider initiatives for more information on these). The final link provides a list of Environment Agency staff who you can contact for more information about activities in each catchment.
Wider adoption of the Catchment Based Approach
On Monday 3 June Defra launched a Policy Framework to aid wider adoption of the Catchment Based Approach.
The policy sets out the high level objectives for the approach, to establish catchment partnerships in every catchment in England where there is an interest in doing so to:
- Deliver positive and sustained outcomes for the water environment by promoting a better understanding of the environment at a local level
- Encourage a more transparent form of decision making, in support of local collaboration or partnership working, for both planning and delivery.
Defra have produced a Q&A document outlining the Policy Framework:
Defra are providing a fund for this financial year 2013-14 to recruit and train catchment partnership hosts.
To contact our national Integrated Catchment Management team please email: