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What is Upstream Thinking?

cupping hands of water

Where does your tap water come from? After the rain falls from the skies, what happens to it?

Here in the South West, many of our reservoirs are up on the moors, and we transport raw water using the natural river network.

We then treat raw water with chemicals to remove bacteria, pesticides and colour . But what if the raw water was relatively free from these things in the first place?

Upstream Thinking is a vision to restore raw water sources and keep them free from pollutants. The projects outlined here each make up an element of our long-term aim, which is to reduce the chemicals, cost and energy needed to produce the top quality tap water on which we all depend.

Latest news
Upstream Thinking is featured in the third report of the The Natural Capital Committee (NCC).

The State of Natural Capital - cover
It was established in 2012 as an independent advisory body to Government.

South West Water's Upstream Thinking project is featured on page 46. Read the report here

The NCC formally reports to the Economic Affairs Committee, chaired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Committee's role is to advise the Government on how to ensure England's 'natural wealth' is managed efficiently and sustainably, thereby unlocking opportunities for sustained prosperity and wellbeing.

Did you know?
Worldwide peatlands are huge carbon stores, but damaged areas release carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere through oxidation processes.

carbon capture and storage
Restoration halts oxidation and promotes active peat growth thus increasing the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere.

The restoration of peatlands could play a major role in mitigating against atmospheric CO2 rises.

Exe Valley aerial view
The ongoing mapping of peatland ditches and cuttings from old air-photographs has identified a possible 150 further sites with damaged or drying peatland, covering over 2,000 hectares.

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