Chelmer and Blackwater

Catchment Partnership

ChelmerBlackwater logo 1



Thomas Harris – Catchment Advisor


01268 664403 or  07792 169545



The Partners

how we can help you…



the catchment


your catchment advisor

…Thomas Harris


the partners


national and local initiatives

pellet wise

campaign for the farmed environment

catchment sensitive farming



water capital grant scheme




The Chelmer and Blackwater Catchment Partnership partners include:




Essex & Suffolk Water is a drinking water provider in parts of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.  Water from the Chelmer and Blackwater rivers is abstracted directly into an Essex & Suffolk Water treatment works at Langford near Maldon, Essex.  Water from the catchment is also stored at Hanningfield reservoir which is south of Chelmsford.


Essex & Suffolk Water is involved with this partnership to improve the quality of the water entering its treatment works from the rivers, through engagement with the farming community.  Essex & Suffolk Water is particularly focused on the pesticides metaldehyde and clopyralid as they are extremely difficult to remove from water using conventional advanced treatment.  Other priorities include propyzamide and carbetamide which can be a challenge to remove at high concentrations.


Essex & Suffolk Water’s involvement in the Partnership is to fund Teresa, the Catchment Advisor’s position and to undertake monitoring of river water quality throughout the catchment.


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Part of the Environment Agency’s remit is to deliver regulatory enforcement on farms - whether this be with reference to cross compliance or pollution prevention.  Their involvement with this partnership however is purely advisory.  The Environment Agency provides assistance with one to one on-farm advice, catchment events and project co-ordination.




CSF phase 3 logo wordFrom 2009 to 2016, the Chelmer and Blackwater Catchment Partnership was also supported by Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF).  CSF is a Natural England led initiative working with farmers to improve water quality in catchments across England.   CSF provided funding to the Partnership for training opportunities, such as one to one visits and catchment events.


Catchment Review


The Chelmer and Blackwater Catchment Partnership has recently undertaken a review of its work in the catchment, both in terms of the water quality, farmer liaison and a social science study into the attitudes towards the Partnership of farmers and advisors in the catchment.


These reviews highlighted many interesting results including:

  • 60% of farmers who were surveyed in the study said the Catchment Partnership is an advantage to their farm business
  • 76% of farmers who have been along to an event or had a visit from the Partnership believe they have taken up mitigation measures to improve water quality as a result
  • One-to-one farm visits were perceived as the most useful source of advice, with events also rated very highly
  •  7 out of 10 farmers stated that they would go to members of the Partnership for advice on how to manage their effect on catchment water quality
  • Farmers surveyed said that they were making changes on their farm for the following reasons: makes sense for farm productivity;  to meet quality assurance scheme standards; to help water quality in Chelmer and Blackwater and to prevent pesticide bans
  • Nearly all of our catchment advisors and agronomists characterised themselves as actively incorporating product stewardship and water quality improvement measures into their advice
  • Statistical analysis of the water quality results showed an upward or at best stable trend in the concentration of pesticides, but a more general downward trend of nitrate and phosphorous.


In addition, the Partnership has had a very strong success in advising farmers in the Chelmer and Blackwater catchment:

§  79% of the catchment’s agricultural area have now been in contact with the Partnership, whether that be via an event, one-to-one farm visit, receiving maps or taking part in a study

§  This equates to 57% (366 of a total of 670) of the holdings in the catchment

§  In the last 6 years, 1,016 farmers have attended events and the Partnership has carried out 1,641 farm visits in the catchment on a range of topics from nutrient management planning, farm compliance, watercourse protection and soil husbandry.

§  The Partnership has supported 57 successful Grant Scheme agreements through Catchment Sensitive Farming.  This has brought £344,728.71 of grant money into the catchment to fund projects such as new sprayer filling areas and watercourse fencing.

This is a fantastic success for the Chelmer and Blackwater catchment – thank you for all your participation and contributions, whether you farm, work or advise in the catchment.  We will aim to work with you to build on these results to further improve catchment water quality in the years to come.   We will also be putting in place the recommendations made from the study and developing our programme of advice.


If you would like more information or to share our successes, please download our results leaflet by clicking here.




events and farm visits

…pesticide handling areas/biobeds

…nutrient management plans and soil analysis

…spreader/sprayer calibrations

…farm health checks

…PA1, 2 and 4S training


farm mapping and data provision

…free farm maps

…water quality





pesticide handling area information



…roofed sprayer filling areas

…container drip racks


In partnership with…                 ESW LOGO CMYK POS.jpg                        EA Logo.jpg