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The Rivers Trust (RT) and Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT) are partners on a WWF-UK led European Union LIFE+ funded project. ‘WaterLIFE’ ( – a three-year project, was started in summer 2014 and aims to accelerate collaborative delivery of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), the single most important piece of EU environmental legislation. The project reflects the growing recognition that sustainable management of our water resources cannot be resolved by Government regulation alone; communities, businesses and Government need to work collaboratively to protect our freshwater environments and in doing so deliver benefits for people too.

The key objectives of the project are to;

  • Work with Government and key policy makers nationally to ensure the right ‘enabling conditions’ are in place to support accelerated delivery of WFD.
  • Work with businesses in two catchments to demonstrate the potential for successful implementation of water stewardship
  • Build capacity and empower civil society stakeholders to engage with integrated land and water management at the catchment scale, helping them to influence and play a key role in the roll-out of WFD River Basin Management Plans
  • To provide a knowledge conduit, sharing successes, ideas and best practice across the UK and Europe through a European knowledge exchange.

Through its primary objective to build civil society capacity, RT is working closely with Trent Rivers Trust and Severn Rivers Trust in the Leicestershire Soar and Camlad (in the Upper Severn) catchments respectively, whilst comparable work undertaken by WRT is focused upon the Tamar in the South West. Innovative approaches to delivering WFD are being explored in these demonstration catchments, including the potential to implement Paid Ecosystem Services schemes and the role that agricultural supply chains play.

This engagement within the three civil society demonstration catchments is closely aligned to the Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) a nationwide initiative that involves collaborative working at a river catchment scale to deliver improvements to our water environments.

For more information contact:

Photos: Jiri Rezac

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