The Exmoor Mires Project. Blocking up drainage ditches helps store water naturally in the environment, protecting drinking water at source.

Congratulations to South West Water and all our project partners in the Upstream Thinking project, which has won CIWEM’s Living Wetlands Award.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environment Management (CIWEM) has announced that Upstream Thinking has won CIWEM’s prestigious Living Wetlands Award which recognises multi-functional projects that demonstrate the sustainable use of wetland habitats.

The winning project, Upstream Thinking, has helped to restore thousands of acres of wetlands in the south west through South West Water’s approach to managing water resources from the very beginning. Comprised of six different projects aimed at protecting raw water sources, Upstream Thinking provides wide-reaching, positive impacts on the environment – increasing biodiversity, reducing energy use, contributing to Water Framework Directive compliance, improving carbon sequestration and reducing the risk of flooding.

“Wetlands projects can deliver multiple benefits such as more diverse and populous biodiversity, increased water storage, reduced flood risk and varied recreational opportunities. The Upstream Thinking programme is an excellent example of a whole systems approach that improves water quality and then reduces water treatment costs, while delivering many other benefits. The   Living Wetlands Award judging panel is delighted to give the award to this project,” says award judge and CIWEM Director of Policy, Justin Taberham.

Upstream Thinking is delivered in partnership with a range of organisations, including the Westcountry Rivers Trust, Exmoor National Park Authority, Devon Wildlife Trust, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, the University of Exeter, Natural England and English Heritage.

Martin Ross FCIWEM, who was until very recently South West Water’s Environmental Manager, received the award at CIWEM’s Annual Dinner at Draper’s Hall in London on 29th May 2013.

CIWEM’s Living Wetlands Award is accredited by the RSA Environment Awards Accreditation Scheme.