Treating 'raw' water to drinking water standards is a more complex, expensive and energy intensive process than most people realise.
Water is abstracted usually from rivers which begin on high ground and flow through farmland and built up areas, often collecting unwanted ingredients along the way.
Of course, any unwanted elements are removed from your tap water during the treatment process. We do this using ultra-violet light, chemicals, settlement and treatment processes such as Granular Activated Carbon, which removes pesticides.
Each area has unique water and unique issues, depending on the catchment. (see map below). The aim of Upstream Thinking is to prevent pesticides, nutrients and other pollutants from getting into rivers in the first place.
This not only makes drinking water cheaper to treat, but has the added benefit of improving the aquatic habitat for wildlife too.
This short film made by the North Devon Biosphere shows how two North Devon farmers improved rivers by managing the water on their land.