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Farming for Water

Farming for Water

Agricultural measures available at 100% funding in Clay Lake catchment area, Keady, Co. Armagh

Click on the following links to find the relevant information:

Why is the Scheme needed?

Who can apply?

What is included in the Scheme

How do I apply to the Scheme

How does the Scheme work?

How long will the Scheme run for?

Where can I find more information about Farming for Water?

Where can I find the terms and conditions?

Farming for Water

Working together with the community to protect our drinking water supplies

From July 2023 NI Water is offering farmers in the Clay Lake drinking water catchment area free farm management measures to reduce the risk of water pollution and to make farm businesses more sustainable.

The Farming for Water scheme will focus on reducing the amount of the herbicide MCPA, nutrients and soil getting into the watercourses connected to Clay Lake near Keady in Co. Armagh.

The scheme will provide 100% funded measures for landowners and farmers within the Clay Lake catchment area to make environmental/water quality improvements for their farm business.

This project will help farmers make small changes in farming practice that could in turn make the farm business more sustainable, whilst also helping to protect water quality in the Clay Lake and Gentle Owens watercourses – a win-win for everyone!

Why is the Scheme needed?

The overall aim of Farming for Water is to improve the quality of water in the Clay Lake and Gentle Owens watercourses, which are used to supply drinking water to thousands of people, as well as being home to many aquatic species and other wildlife.

In order to provide a continuous supply of good quality drinking water to the local region, water taken from Clay Lake must be treated to remove pollutants that wash off the land, such as soil, nutrients and the herbicide MCPA. These pollutants can be harmful to the watercourses and are challenging to remove at the water treatment works. They are also costly for the landowner who is losing precious soil and nutrients from the land.

Farming for Water aims to bring about positive changes that benefit both the landowner and the catchment; as well as potentially reducing the cost of treating and supplying high quality drinking water to our taps.

Did you know...

A single drop of MCPA, spilt into a stream 1 metre wide, can cause a breach of the drinking water limit for herbicide for a distance of 30 kilometres of the stream.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for the Scheme:

  • You must be the active farmer for the land (tenant farmers should get their landowner’s consent before applying).
  • Your field must be located entirely or partly within the Clay Lake catchment area (see map below).

Priority will be given to measures in close proximity to watercourses in order to obtain maximum benefits to water quality.

See full eligibility rules in the Terms and Conditions.

Check if you are eligible by inputting your farm postcode into the interactive map below:

What is included in the Scheme?

The following measures are available under Farming for Water and can be considered for your farm to help improve water quality in your area. Not all items will be appropriate or eligible for every farm, with priority given to measures in close proximity to watercourses in order to achieve maximum benefits for water quality:

  1. Provision of pesticide storage unit
  2. Provision of pesticide/chemical spill kit
  3. Provision of drip tray
  4. Contractor for weed wiping to replace MCPA use
  5. Contractor for topping rushes prior to weed wiping
  6. Provision of liming service on fields that have been weed wiped
  7. Stock proof fencing along watercourses
  8. Provision of alternative stock drinking points
  9. Farmer innovation measures – individual to each farm
  10. Pesticide training (subject to demand)

Further details on these scheme measures can be found in the Farming for Water Brochure

How do I apply to the Scheme?

To register your interest in taking part in Farming for Water, complete the Expression of Interest Form


Call one of our NI Water Catchment Officers: 07585996364 / 07772225226


email: catchment[AT]niwater[DOT]com

Following this, one of our NI Water Catchment Officers will be in contact with you.

How does the Scheme work?

  1. If you are eligible and have submitted an Expression of Interest Form, phoned or emailed, one of our Catchment Officers will contact you to arrange to meet you on your farm.
  2. You and the Catchment Officer will walk the farm yards and fields to identify what Scheme items could work well on your farm. You agree which recommended items you want to proceed with on your farm.
  3. The Catchment Officer will fill out a Scheme Agreement Form and return to you to check and sign.
  4. Once your agreement is finalised and signed by all relevant parties, the details will be passed to the NI Water approved contractor.
  5. The contractor will be in touch with you to make arrangements to do the work on your farm.
  6. You will liaise with the contractor to ensure all work is completed as agreed and to a standard that you are happy with.
  7. When the work is completed, let the Catchment Officer know and a final inspection will be carried out.

How long will the Scheme run for?

The Scheme is initially open for 12 months from July 2023. The Scheme is offered on a ‘first come, first served’ basis and will close when the budget has been used. All work must be approved by a Northern Ireland Water Catchment Officer. Priority will be given to farms in close proximity to watercourses and measures which will have maximum benefit for water quality. To ensure that work will be done, agreements must be made promptly as the scheme is on a first come first served basis.

Where can I find more information about Farming for Water?

Full scheme details can be found in the Farming for Water Brochure.

Farming for Water Terms and Conditions can be found here.

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