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Farmers along River Derg help protect cross-border drinking water and wildlife

09 August 2021 13:42

 | NI Water News

The Source to Tap project’s agricultural Land Incentive Scheme has been a huge success and the project team want to pay tribute to local landowners for their contribution towards protecting local river water quality and wildlife.

In total, 119 landowners have benefited from funding through the €1.02 million cross-border pilot scheme. The grants have helped farmers invest in alternative land-management practices, which can lessen the impact on water quality in nearby rivers.

Through the provision of personalised Water and Environment Management Plans, issues that affect water quality have been addressed, including herbicide application by contractors using weed wipers, provision of fencing to prevent livestock from entering watercourses and solar powered drinking troughs.

The Land Incentive Scheme is part of the overall €4.9 million EU INTERREG VA- funded cross-border Source to Tap project. The Project is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, match-funded by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland, the Department for Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) in Ireland, and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

“The landowners involved have made a huge impact in protecting river water quality throughout the Derg catchment and we look forward to seeing the improvements continue well into the future.” – Diane Foster, NI Water Project Manager.


Although the Land Incentive Scheme is now coming to a close, the project team can still offer free farm visits with a bespoke Water Environment Management Plan. This is a great resource for famers wishing to reduce their herbicide usage and those hoping to prevent sediment loss from the farm. Moreover, farmers who want to learn the weed wiping technique for herbicide application can attend an online rush control webinar planned for mid-September.


The Source to Tap project doesn’t work exclusively with landowners: members of the public can also get involved by becoming citizen scientists who monitor water quality in the rivers and streams of the Derg catchment. The Riverfly Monitoring Training event is free to attend and will be held at the Killeter Heritage Centre on the 14 August from 10am-4pm. This is a fantastic opportunity for volunteers who are passionate about protecting and improving their local river! Register now by emailing or phone +44 (0)7948 354026.

Further information on the INTERREG VA project can be found at and advice on herbicide usage can be found on the NI Water website ; the Teagasc website at, DAFM website  and on The Voluntary Initiative website   

-        ENDS -

Notes to editor:

• Source to Tap (the Project) is a €4.9 million collaborative, cross-border project, which aims to pilot sustainable, cost effective measures to reduce pollution in shared catchments, and to secure safe drinking water sources and contribute to improvements in cross border raw water quality. The outputs will be shared on a legacy Source to Tap website.

• The Project is led by Northern Ireland Water and delivered in partnership with Irish Water, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, East Border Region, Ulster University and The Rivers Trust.

• The Project is funded by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) with support from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) in Ireland.

• The Project will run for nearly 6 years – 2017-2022. It will also work with volunteers and provide training opportunities for land managers/farms/businesses, which will help the project to deliver its objectives of improving freshwater quality.

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