Growers offered grants to improve use of water resources

The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) is inviting grant applications from horticulture businesses to improve their use of water resources.

Grants of up to 50 per cent are available for irrigation reservoirs and water recycling, harvesting and treatment through the EU-backed Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which SEEDA administers in the South East.

SEEDA horticulture working group chairman Andrew Colquhoun said: "There are significant water pressures in this region and this situation is likely to get worse with climate change and more dry summers. But the South East has the potential to boost production of fruit, vegetables and ornamentals.

"If horticultural businesses can ensure that they have water security through an RDPE grant, this will boost their competitiveness and add capital value."

Working with the Environment Agency, SEEDA has already allocated £600,000 to eight projects to help farmers and growers. Six of the awards were for on-farm reservoirs and the other two were for water capture and recycling projects on plant nurseries.

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