Walking the Eye: Case study of Eye Water catchment


Diffuse pollution priority catchments were launched in 2010 to help identify and tackle pollution from agricultural sources through catchment walking and building relationships with farmers and land managers. Here we take a look at one of the success stories of the catchment approach, the Eye Water catchment.

Walking the Eye Water catchment: 2008 – 2016

River timeline showing progress of diffuse pollution work

Farmers and land managers farming in the river catchments of the Eye Water and Pease Bay have worked co-operatively with us over the past 10 years to embed the agricultural General Binding Rules (GBR’s) in their farm management, without the need for any enforcement action. Both catchments link directly to designated bathing waters, one of which consistently fails the bathing water quality legislation.

Eye water fast facts

  • The Eye Water catchment is 120km2 and has a main stem of 36 km.
  • Land use is rough grazing on upper catchment, improved grazing and arable farming on lower catchment.
  • Population in the catchment is around 6000.
  • Millions of pounds spent on public sewage treatment between 2000 and 2015, plus many septic tanks are dispersed throughout catchment.
  • Poor water quality at the Eyemouth bathing water between 2007 – 2016, with previously high correlation with water quality in Eye Water.

This work with farmers has actively reduced pollution levels in the Eye Water and protected the excellent  bathing water quality at Pease Bay, which was due in part to work carried out by Tweed Forum to assist land managers to apply for funding to mitigate against GBR breaches. As of December 2016, all farms were compliant but the Eye bathing water is still failing water quality tests and other sources are being investigated.



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