Rezatec has been using cutting edge Earth Observation techniques to assist South West Water on a project to map and understand the condition of its peatlands. South West Water is working with partners in its Upstream Thinking Programme to improve drinking water quality and reduce treatment costs through improved catchment management around Bodmin Moor and Exmoor.
For South West Water and the Mires Partnership on Exmoor understanding the underlying peatland structure and integrity is crucial for restoration planning. The identification and subsequent blocking of drainage ditches allows the moor to hold more water and to release it more slowly, thereby reducing flood risk and improving water quality. Post restoration monitoring studies on Exmoor have shown that restoring peat bogs that had previously been drained resulted in a third less water leaving the moorland during rainstorms than had done so three years before.
With this in mind, Rezatec is applying its proprietary analytics to provide South West Water with comprehensive Landscape Intelligence maps for Exmoor and Bodmin Moor. Processing a variety of Earth Observation data such as optical, near-infrared, thermal and Lidar, Rezatec derives high-value Data Products, accessed via an online portal, that allow the company to understand the location, structure, and function of peatland in its drinking water catchments.
Rezatec’s work with South West Water support the water company’s ‘Upstream Thinking’ programme, designed to make environmental improvements to increase water quality in river catchments, thereby reducing water treatment costs, use of chemicals and energy consumption. The scheme, which covers nine of South West Water’s key river catchments (including the Exe, Tamar and Fowey), is restoring raw water sources and keeping them free of pollutants using better land management techniques to improve water quality and quantity at its source – reducing the cost of water treatment.
Dr David Smith, Upstream Thinking Manager for South West Water, commented: “Our work with Rezatec is of great value to our business because it will allow us to better understand peatland on Bodmin Moor, which will steer our restoration planning efforts and ultimately reduce the costs of water treatment while improving the quality of water we can offer to our customers.”
Philip Briscoe of Rezatec added: “We are using proven techniques to map, measure and monitor peatland for South West Water, and are confident that the unique data and insights we are providing will inform effective decision-making across these catchments to drive cost efficiencies and environmental advances.”
The work is the latest in a series of projects undertaken by Rezatec to provide Earth Observation Data Products to the UK’s water companies, such as pipeline leakage detection and agriculture diffuse pollution mapping. The South West Water project is part of a wider project with the European Space Agency (ESA), which will see the development of a new spatial planning and knowledge management tool that provides critical support for organisations with environmental risk and landscape management challenges.