Somerset County Council (UK) is responsible for water management in Somerset in the south of England. In the DROP project, the Council contributes to the nature pilot. The region has the greatest variety of soils in England. How to adapt to drought therefore asks for a soil-based, holistic approach that incorporates area-wide modelling. In the DROP project, the vulnerability of soils are studied, area water level management plans developed, and innovative habitat restoration measures in nature areas tested. Each of the studies and measures are innovative approaches that can be applied to other areas to secure a more sustainable future for the water management and ecological networks in the face of climate change. Awareness raising is another important aspect of the pilot and focuses on farmers and drought and climate change education and outreach.
Pitch of Stephen Dury – project manager
The following actions are foreseen:
- Explore the vulnerability of soils (and their related ecosystem services) to drought, and test the measures needed on a landscape-scale to safeguard these soils so they can support productive agriculture and retain stored carbon and biodiversity interests in times of drought.
- Create an Area Water Level Management Plan that will assess the current standards of water level management and watercourse conditions, consider existing and future pressures from drought, as well as development and agriculture.
- Enhance drought resilience and mitigate drought in nature areas, among others, through land use changes and risk assessments,
- Improve farm water management by exchanging knowledge, developing plans and enhancing efficient water use and water conservation.
- Development and application of an education program for school children en communities on drought and climate change
The nature pilot is implemented with Water Authority Vechtstromen (the Netherlands) and with two sub-partners: the Royal Society for Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG). Drought experts of both organizations participate in six exchanges during which potential measures are designed, discussed and evaluated. The governance team of the DROP project will visit the region twice to define and evaluate the regional governance setting for drought adaptation measures.
For more information about this partner, visit the website of Somerset County Council www.somerset.gov.uk.