The Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) project is a joint Defra, Environment Agency (EA) and Welsh Assembly Government initiative working in three river catchments – the Wensum in Norfolk plus the Eden (Cumbria) and Avon (Hampshire).

The overall objective of the project is to provide evidence to test the hypothesis that it is possible to cost effectively reduce the impact of agricultural diffuse water pollution on ecological function while maintaining food security through the implementation of multiple on-farm measures across whole river catchments using local expertise to solve local problems. [READ MORE]

What's in the news?

  • 31 March 15: Second Phase of DTC gets underway After a long process of procurement the new contracts for the monitoring component of DTC are finally being put in place. Defra has taken the opportunity to expand the brief and also attempt to bring together different strands of work, emphasising the multi- and trans-disciplinary nature of the work and the issues that it needs to address. See the latest newsletter from the DTC programme for the full story and further updates from all the catchments [click here].
CATSCI Workshop March 2015
  • 20 March 15: CATchment SCIences (CATSCI) workshop account UEA post-graduate student Nick Garrard recently attended a NERC funded postgraduate and professional skills development CATchment SCIences (CATSCI) workshop that included several farm visits (picture right from Phil Haygarth) and concluded with a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentation. To read Nick’s account of the workshop [click here].

  • 20 March 15: Nitrous oxide emission from field drains at Salle UEA Researcher Zanist Hama-Aziz has been examining nitrous oxide (N2O) emission from field drains at Salle. Nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas that persists in the atmosphere and has 298 times more global warming potential than CO2. Emissions of N2O arise both directly from fertilized soils and indirectly from drainage streams, groundwater, rivers and estuaries. N2O is highly soluble in water, thus a significant amount of N2O may be discharged with drain water and released to the atmosphere. To read about the results of Zanist’s work [click here].
  • 18 March 15: Congratulations to Richard Cooper & Co. for three notable research publications Richard Cooper and other research collaborators have recently had three papers published relating to work on the Wensum DTC. Collectively, the developments presented in these three papers significantly advance sediment fingerprinting research by enabling organic and inorganic fluvial sediment fractions to be quantitatively apportioned at both low- and high-temporal resolution within realistic levels of uncertainty, thereby enhancing our understanding of sediment dynamics under a range of instream hydrological conditions. To read more about the work and to access the DOI links to the publications [click here].
  • 09 Mar 15: Agritech Water Cluster workshop, Wisbech Agri-Tech East’s ‘Water for Agriculture‘ Special Interest Group, in partnership with the Agritech Water Cluster (based at the University of East Anglia) and Anglian Water, who have an interest in non-domestic water supply and demand, presented a workshop to explore future water needs in food production, processing and packing. Attendees at the workshop all used water varied ways from agricultural production, food processing, industry experts, innovative and agri-tech driven companies as well as tourism. The event started with brief introductions from the organisers: Agri-Tech East, Anglian Water and the Agritech Water Cluster outlining the plan for the day. Inder Poonaji, Head of Sustainability at Nestlé, gave an inspiring introductory talk on Nestlé’s approach to water efficiency and their commitments to reducing their water usage by 50% in 2020. For a full account of the meeting [click here].
  • 10 February 15: The winter conference of the British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) A session on "Catch Cropping and Nutrient Management", was presented by James Beamish from Salle Farm and Andrew Lovett (UEA). James and Andrew presented results from the cultivation trials on the Salle estate to assess the impact of an oilseed radish cover crop and reduced tillage techniques on soil properties and nutrient balances. To read the full story [click here].
  • 19 January 15: Climate Change and Farming The YIELD network held an intereactive dicsussion at the Norfolk Showground on the possible impact of climate change on farming in Norfolk. Prof. Andrew Lovett from the Wensum DTC was the lead speaker. The YIELD (Young Innivative Enterprising Learning & Development) network connects rurally based professionals and is supported by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association which aims to educate and bring together people and businesses to promote a better understanding of food, farming and the countryside.

To read more about what's been happening see our News page.

Forthcoming events

  • 25 Apr 15: Wild About the Wensum! Back for it's 10th year this fun filled family day is hosted by the Pensthorpe Conservation Trust. There will be lots of exciting activities running throughout the day based around conservation in the Wensum Valley. This educational event runs from 10am to 5pm and offers an inspiring insight into the natural environment. The Wensum DTC team will be attending once again.
  • 26 May 15: Agri-Tech East and Anglian Water workshop: Balancing water supply and demand (near Duxford 12:30 - 16:00) This event is aimed at farmers and landowners and will offer a practical insight into industry decision making, the challenges that industry and agriculture both face in terms of water availability and investment options to meet the growing demand for water in our region. For more information and to register [click here].
View Wensum DTC Google Earth project
Wensum Google Earth project
Explore the Wensum catchment from the comfort of your own computer using this 'Google Earth' project developed by GIS expert Gilla Sunnenberg. [Click here] to view the project.
Out and about
Mill on the Wensum
Three arched bridge
Demonstration Test Catchments Logo