Grant scheme helps farmers protect rivers in Tyrone

Robin Bolton, CAFRE, Michael Chance, IFA (Irish Farmers' Association) Donegal County Chairman, Diane Foster, Source to Tap Project Manager, Mark Horton The Rivers Trust and David Brown Deputy President UFU.
Robin Bolton, CAFRE, Michael Chance, IFA (Irish Farmers' Association) Donegal County Chairman, Diane Foster, Source to Tap Project Manager, Mark Horton The Rivers Trust and David Brown Deputy President UFU.

A new pilot cross-border Land Incentive Scheme has been launched in the River Derg catchment.

The innovative new scheme will support farmers in adopting farming practices that help to protect the quality of river water that is the source of drinking water for communities in Counties Tyrone and Donegal.

It is part of a major €5.3M cross-border EU INTERREG VA funded project called ‘Source to Tap’, which aims to improve water quality in rivers and lakes in the Erne and Derg catchment areas which provide water that serves parts of counties Fermanagh, Tyrone, Donegal, Cavan, Leitrim and Longford.

Diane Foster NI Water Project Manager said: “We are delighted to launch this initiative as part of the overall project, which will give the farming community the opportunity to apply for 100% funding to support farmers in making small changes in farming practices such as using a contractor to spray rushes and installing stock fencing on watercourses.”

The overall aim of the scheme is to protect raw water quality at source by reducing contaminants getting into the water in the first place and raise awareness of the importance of protecting our precious drinking water resources.

The scheme will run until July 31, 2020, and will be operated on a first come first served basis through the Source to Tap project. The project employs three Project Officers who will work closely with farmers in the Derg area to guide them through the application process.

Michael Clarke, Co. Tyrone Chairman of the Northern Ireland Agricultural Producers’ Association, said: “While this particular project directs funding towards improvement at source and this assists greatly with prevention of pollution, its impact will benefit complete communities in all walks of life and as such we fully support the initiative.”