Key to water quality

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Land users could hold the key to better water in Lancashire.

Farmers and businesses in some of Lancashire’s most stunning locations are being asked to consider the impact on potential water sources when tending to their land.

Parts of the Forest of Bowland, Longridge and the catchment of the River Wyre are among 38 places across the North West where water supplies are gathered which have been designated as water safeguard zones because the quality of local rivers, reservoirs or boreholes has deteriorated over the years.

The problem does not affect the quality of water coming out of peoples’ taps, because it is always treated to a very high standard, but it does mean more and more expensive, environmentally-unfriendly chemicals could be needed to treat the water in future, or even expensive upgrades to water treatment works.

Pollutants, algae and discolouration are the main culprits. But experts from water company United Utilities and the Environment Agency say simple changes to farming and business practices could be all it takes to reverse the trend.

And it could bring particular benefits for farmers, as well as consumers and the environment. Landowners, businesses and other stakeholders who could affect Lancashire’s water catchment land are now being personally invited to consultation workshops taking place in Lancashire this month.

The workshops hope to help identify local problems and urge people to work together voluntarily to make things better. Supported by experts, it is hoped farmers could save money by using their resources more wisely or get enhanced access to public funding.