Northumbrian Water is taking part in a multi-million pound project aimed at improving river water quality in Northumberland.

The LIFE Water and Disturbance Environmental Restoration (WADER) project aims to improve the ecological condition of more than 49,000 hectares of habitat and water quality for the species that depend on them.

Focused on the River Tweed catchment, Tweed Estuary and Northumberland Coast, the Natural England-led project sees Northumbrian Water’s team working to help reduce nitrates entering the water from agriculture.

The Tweed catchment and estuary support internationally important over-wintering birds, such as the purple sandpiper and turnstone, as well as Arctic tern breeding colonies, and will help to control invasive species.

Other partners include the Environment Agency, Tweed Forum and Newcastle University.

Funding from partners and EU LIFE totalling £5.8 million will see the five-year project deliver COP26 conservation pledges. EU LIFE is the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action.

Northumbrian Water’s involvement represents part of its Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) work, complementing its own investment in reducing the impact on water quality from its own operations and assets.

Rob Cooper, Catchment Adviser at Northumbrian Water, said: “This beautiful part of Northumberland is so important for these species, and for those who love to visit and enjoy the surroundings that nurture them.

“It’s so important that we work with partners on projects like this, supporting other industries and protecting our environment.

“It’s vital that the interaction between land management and river water quality is looked at holistically, if we are to make the improvements we, our customers and communities, want to see. So, our efforts to support agriculture in reducing nitrate loss from fields into water courses and aquifers – water stored in underground rock – complements everything we are working to achieve in terms of our own operations.”