An innovative and exciting new pilot cross-border Land Incentive Scheme has been launched in the River Derg catchment, which will support farmers in adopting farming practices that help to protect the quality of river water that is the source of drinking water for communities in Counties Donegal and Tyrone.
This scheme is part of a major €5.3M cross-border EU INTERREG VA funded project called Source to Tap, which aims to improve water quality in rivers and lakes in the Erne and Derg catchment areas which provide water that serves parts of counties Fermanagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Longford.
“The Source to Tap project is led by NI Water in partnership with Irish Water, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, East Border Region, Ulster University and The Rivers Trust and is funded by the EU’S INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
We are delighted to launch this initiative as part of the overall project, which will give the farming community the opportunity to apply for 100% funding to support farmers in making small changes in farming practices such as using a contractor to spray rushes and installing stock fencing on watercourses.” – Diane Foster, NI Water Project Manager
The overall aim of the scheme is to protect raw water quality at source by reducing contaminants getting into the water in the first place and raise awareness of the importance of protecting our precious drinking water resources.
The scheme will run from 25 July 2018 to 31 July 2020 and will be operated on a first come first served basis through the Source to Tap project. The project employs three Project Officers who will work closely with farmers in the Derg area to guide them through the application process and help them identify what improvements can be made on their farms to benefit both their farm businesses and the water environment.
“This project is win-win for both the environment and agriculture. Farmers understand the importance of water quality and want to help make a difference. This project will help to give them the advice and tools to do so. It is a great example of collaborative working and we are very pleased to be a part of it.” – UFU deputy president, David Brown
Michael Chance, Chairman of the Donegal Irish Farmers’ Association said that this scheme will be of huge benefit to the people of Donegal and Tyrone:
“This is real money and will be hugely beneficial in contributing to the enhancement of farmland in the Derg Catchment area while ensuring the protection of our water source for generations to come.”
Michael Clarke, Co. Tyrone Chairman of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers’ Association added:
“While this particular project directs funding towards improvement at source and this assists greatly with prevention of pollution, its impact will benefit complete communities in all walks of life and as such we fully support the initiative.”
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in Ireland.