Water Works is a pioneering project, funded by the People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund, to study new wet farming techniques that could restore the peat to the Cambridgeshire Fens and help mitigate climate change. As part of the three year Water Works project (ending 2022) the Wildlife Trust BCN has created field scale trials of wet farming to test innovative new crops for food, healthcare and industry, and to lock in carbon. Peatlands cover only 3% of the world’s land surface but hold 25% of the global soil carbon; making them the world’s most effective carbon stores holding. However, if drained, they excessively emit carbon rather than storing it due to decomposition of organic matter.
Paludiculture is the productive use of wet peatlands; a land management technique to cultivate commercially interesting crops on wet or rewetted peatlands under conditions that maintain the peat body, facilitate peat accumulation and sustain the ecosystem services associated with natural peatlands.
A large part of the project is working with local farmers, food producers and landowners to create and test this new way of farming and to share any lessons learned along the way.
Summer at Water Works
Project Manager Kate Carver talks us through the exciting leaps forward for the crops, the science and the people of our peatland…
Water Works Presented to Global Audience at RRR2021
In March 2021, the Water Works partnership was honoured to be invited to present at the Greifswald Mire Centre virtual conference,…
My Year as Great Fen Voluntary Officer
The arrival of Christmas 2020 marked the end of Martin Parsons' tenure as Great Fen Voluntary Officer. So what did that involve and…
Water Works Waves Farewell to 2020
The autumn planting period at the Great Fen Water Works project reaches a successful conclusion
All Hands on Deck at Water Works
The new wet-farming beds are rapidly filling up with the trial crops thanks to a steady flow of willing and hard-working volunteer…
Getting underway - again - with Water Works
Kate Carver, Great Fen project manager, gives an update on the Water Works project and the challenges we face after lockdown.
Carbon balancing act
Ross Morrison of the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology will be monitoring carbon dioxide and methane output of trial crops in the…
My Great Day at the Great Fen
When his mum Lorna had to talk on the radio for work, eight-year-old Thom J and his sister Sally came along to the Great Fen to listen…
Wet, wet, wet!
Studying for a PhD at University of East London, Jack Clough charts his involvement in the Water Works project, the hopes being pinned…
The Water Works Project
Water Works is a three year project aiming to look at ways to develop a more sustainable future for fenland resources – its soil, water and people. Through the project we are trialing new farming methods designed to protect our precious peat soils and water resources, by using new science and technology to develop and monitor these techniques and by applying for UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status to support and unite people to create a thriving fenland economy and countryside.
The project is managed by a partnership between the Wildlife Trust Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire; Cambridgeshire ACRE, The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of East London and is funded by a grant awarded in 2019 by the People’s Postcode Lottery Dream Fund: a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
Find out more about Water Works in our short film: