Water Friendly Farming

Water Friendly Farming is a long-term research demonstration project, designed to test the effectiveness of landscape-wide agri-environment measures, intended to reduce the impact of rural land use on freshwaters – ponds, streams, lakes, rivers and ditches – and the services they provide.

It is a long-term collaboration between the Freshwater Habitats Trust, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, the University of York, the Environment Agency and landowners in three Leicestershire catchments.

In 2018 we started a second Water Friendly Farming demonstration project with Anglian Water in the catchment of Pitsford Reservoir in Northamptonshire. This project is providing further evidence to evaluate the effectiveness of landscape-wide measures to improve ponds, streams and ditches in the rural landscape – and the water quality, biodiversity and flood management services they provide. See: https://freshwaterhabitats.org.uk/projects/catchment-projects/pitsford-water-friendly-farming.


APRIL 2020: Nature based measures increase freshwater biodiversity in agricultural catchments. The peer-reviewed findings, recently published in the journal Biological Conservation, are the first major results from the Water Friendly Farming project.

Download our other reports


Latest results. Download the Water Friendly Farming Autumn 2016 Update, launched at an All Party Parliamentary Game and Wildlife Conservation Group meeting in Westminster on the 8th November 2016.



The Water Friendly Farming Report 2014 highlights results from the project’s first four years, including the baseline conditions before our mitigation measures were introduced.

The results provide some of the first scientific evidence that habitat creation can prevent loss of freshwater biodiversity at the catchment scale


Find out more about Water Friendly Farming