Water Net Gain


All the winners

Innovation fund

The Water Net Gain project is researching new ways we can support farmers to bolster drought affected water supplies and ease associated river health pressures.
It has been awarded £1 million in funding from the third Ofwat Innovation Fund Water Breakthrough Challenge.

Working in partnership with South West Water, the Environment Agency, Saputo Dairy UK and Duchy College, we will intially work with farmers in the Tamar and Fowey catchments.

Through this, we will determine the feasibility of a catchment-scale approach where farmers are paid to store water on their land, and how this could improve their farm’s resilience as well as that of wider society and rivers.

The Water Breakthrough Challenge encourages initiatives that help tackle challenges facing the water sector, such as achieving net zero, protecting natural ecosystems and reducing leakage, as well as delivering value to society.

Having first-hand experience of drought and water use restrictions in our region, and with more water resource deficits predicted by 2050, we will be exploring the potential with the farming community for new ponds and lakes to create water storage ‘batteries’.

These ecologically connected and distributive ‘smart ponds’ would enhance water retention on land, charging during the winter, and enabling farmers during times of summer drought to either use the water for on-farm needs, thereby alleviating demand on the mains supply, or to sell to recharge our rivers via water companies adding to the water supply grid.”

Dr Laurence Couldrick


Additional Benefits

Providing freshwater to rivers during droughts has many benefits. It can include diluting pollution build-up not managed through current agricultural water quality incentivisation schemes. Nature-based water retention solutions such as healthy soils, woodlands and wetlands can also improve flood protection and aquatic biodiversity.

Learn more about Water Net Gain

In this video our CEO Dr Laurence Couldrick shares details from the wider OFWAT Innovation Catalyst proposal.

He highlights the aims and objectives of the proposal to capture a distributed rainwater bank for the future.  

Please contact us via the form below if you are a land manager interested in finding out more about water storage solutions on your land.

Please note that this is a research and development project, initially focused in the Tamar and Fowey catchments. We can forward your details to our farm advisors in other areas if you wish to find out about other options and/or be informed about Water Net Gain development and future opportunities in the region.

The Water Net Gain project is one of 16 solutions being awarded a share of £40 million via Ofwat’s Innovation Fund Water Breakthrough Challenge 3.