Water management is a hugely important part of farming, both for drainage and irrigation. At Pollybell we work hard to minimise our impact on our local water resources by managing every aspect of their use.
The land on which Pollybell now stands was drained by Cornelius Vermuyden between 1626 and 1633. Because at Pollybell we farm below sea-level, we have a variety of different challenges to work with. These include stopping our farming land becoming waterlogged by water running off the higher land that borders the farm as well as making sure we have sufficient water stored when the weather is dry. It's a tricky balancing act.
As part of our ongoing program of investment in farm infrastructure, in cooperation with Defra and the European Union, we have recently built a thirty million gallon, winter peak-flow, reservoir and installed water ring main piping.
The reservoir improves the farm’s capture and reuse of peak flows of water which would otherwise be wasted and which will help take pressure off our demand on local summer river supply. The ring main allows us to manage our water even more efficiently by making it easier to move water around the farm and reduces our energy usage.
We will monitor and evaluate how the new reservoir contributes to farming efficiently and sustainably and use the insights gained to inform future investment in our water infrastructure.
We will also be continuing our work with the Environment Agency and the RSPB to see if we could build a reservoir, in a novel design, that would allow us to store excess water for later use, help prevent flooding of a local town and enhance the habitat along the River Idle corridor.