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20 June 24

Affinity Water champions healthy soils and water quality at Groundswell 2024

Affinity Water is delighted to be the headline sponsor for the seventh consecutive year at Groundswell 2024, emphasising the critical connection between healthy soils and water quality.

At Affinity Water, they deeply appreciate the dedication and passion Groundswell farmers have for enriching their soils. Their efforts to improve soil life, preserve structure, and increase organic matter helps enhance how water behaves across catchments, and in turn benefits crops, water and the environment. Soils farmed in a regenerative way can naturally hold more water, filter water, and provide a rich habitat for soil life to cycle nutrients for crop production.

Danny Coffey, catchment manager at Affinity Water said:

“We fully support regenerative agriculture as a sustainable, carbon-friendly method to treat water at the source, rather than relying on energy-intensive engineered solutions.”

“We’ve been funding and trialling cover crops in our catchments for many years now, with a particular focus on reducing nitrate leaching and groundwater protection. Using companion crops in oilseed rape, our data suggests this can mitigate herbicide losses which can risk water treatment processes and we have promising results for companion species reducing cabbage stem flea beetle damage.”

“It is important to consider both crops and water when we trial new measures and we look forward to sharing the latest findings at this year’s Groundswell.”

Throughout Groundswell, Affinity Water will be hosting the rainfall simulator demonstrations on their stand. This simulator dramatically shows the effects of two inches of intense rainfall on different soil types under various management practices, including no-till and cultivated soils, with and without cover crops, and under permanent pasture. As the UK’s largest clean water-only company, observing the difference in water infiltration from regenerative soils was a pivotal moment in our journey to enhance soil health across priority catchments to safeguard public water supplies.

Affinity Water supplies around 950 million litres of water daily to over 3.89 million people, and their commitment to their customers is to provide the highest quality drinking water while leaving the environment in a sustainable and improved state, mirroring the efforts of regenerative farmers.

Since 2020, they have funded over 7,000 hectares of cover and companion crops to fix nutrients and improve soil health. Their catchment management team supports other regenerative practices such as intercropping and no-till farming, learning alongside farmers about the benefits of these methods.

At Groundswell this year, the Affinity Water biodiversity team will also be at their stand to showcase how they fund community groups and businesses to tackle invasive species and promote their new community-award grant, 'Rooting for Wildlife.' This scheme, piloted across the Lee catchment, enables local groups, including farmers, to implement biodiversity projects. Additionally, the Affinity Water River Restoration team focuses on globally rare chalk streams in their supply area, working on projects like treeworks, livestock fencing, in-channel habitat enhancement, and more.

Support for regenerative agriculture will help protect the environment for future generations and we encourage you to visit the Affinity Water stand to see a rainfall simulator session and to discuss opportunities to work together to benefit crops, water, and the environment.

Entering its eighth year, Groundswell provides a forum for anyone interested in food production or the environment to learn about conservation agriculture or regenerative systems. This two-day event features talks, forums, and demonstrations from leading experts in soil health, experienced farmers, agricultural policy experts, and AgTech innovators. It appeals to a wide audience, including conventional and organic farmers, livestock and arable farmers, landowners, and tenant farmers.

Groundswell was founded by the Cherry family on their mixed farm in Hertfordshire. Having farmed for over thirty years and converting to a no-till system in 2010, John and Paul Cherry created Groundswell out of a need for a show focused on soil and its ecosystems.

John Cherry, Farmer, and Founder of Groundswell said:

“We started Groundswell because there was no summer show we wanted to attend. After going no-till, we realised we only needed a good seed drill, not a barn full of cultivating equipment. Our visit to the No-Till on the Plains Conference in Kansas inspired us. Farmers there were eager to learn about soil and its ecosystems, and we thought Europe should be ready for this too. Groundswell has grown from that inspiration, reflecting the increasing interest in Regenerative Agriculture from farmers and policy makers alike. We are particularly grateful to Affinity Water for their support as headline sponsors, recognising the benefits that good farming brings to the water cycle,”

Delegates are invited to visit the Affinity Water stand to engage with their catchment team and learn more about their catchment management funding schemes and ongoing field trials.

The stand will host representatives from Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, University of Reading and Affinity Water’s biodiversity and river restoration teams.

Visitors to the stand can also receive a free reusable water bottle and attend rainfall simulator and soil carbon scanner demonstrations happening next to the stand each day.

For more information, visit us at Groundswell 2024 or visit the website here:

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