Water Resources East (WRE), together with Norfolk County Council, Anglian Water and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have formed a partnership to prepare a sustainable Norfolk Water Strategy with associated funding and governance arrangements. 

The Eastern region, and specifically Norfolk, is experiencing growing pressures on water resources, with residents and businesses already experiencing the effects of a changing climate that are increasing flooding incidents and potential water shortages. The ability of freshwater bodies to sustain biodiversity is at risk due to pollution and destruction of native habitats.  

Collaborative, cross-sector joined up approaches and actions are required now if we are to ensure we have enough water to meet the growth in population, support the recovery and growth of the local economy post-covid and enable the local natural environment to recover and flourish to 2050 and beyond.  

What are the objectives?

The objectives of the Norfolk Water Strategy Programme are to secure good quality, long-term water resources for all water users, while protecting the environment and showcasing the county as an international exemplar for collaborative water management. 

The Programme seeks to demonstrate how cross-sector, integrated water management action can deliver multiple benefits and help achieve the county’s net zero targets. Early outputs and learnings from the project will feed into the development of the long-term Regional Water Resources Management Plan for Eastern England. 

The development of the plan and associated governance arrangements, initially funded for two years, will entail working with a variety of organisations to test and implement a number of nature-based solutions to manage water in the county. These nature-based solutions will be amalgamated into an investable, long-term, proposition for private and public financing which will underpin the creation of a governance structure referred to as a ‘Water Fund’. 

Water Funds are a well-established model for facilitating collective action to address water security challenges through the implementation of nature-based solutions as a complement for more traditional so-called ‘grey’ infrastructure such as pipelines and treatment plants. Norfolk is one of two European pilots selected for Water Funds by TNC, to add to TNC’s global portfolio of  Water Funds. See below for further information.