What we've been doing
On the uplands of Exmoor drainage ditches have been dug across the moorland for a variety of reasons and over many decades.
Generations of peat-cutting and the creation of drainage ditches has caused the mires to dry out, which reduces the water-holding capacity of the moors.
In addition, this drying action causes oxidation of exposed peat bogs which releases large quantities of carbon into the atmosphere. A 'healthy' bog accumulates carbon and absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere.
The focus of the Exmoor Mires Partnership is to block drainage ditches using sustainable methods, local materials and local contractors in order to 're-wet' the bog, enabling it to retain water and carbon.
During periods of heavy rainfall, re-wetted peat bogs slow down the run-off of water from land before steadily releasing it. This increased water storage has the effect of reducing the fluctuation of river flows, making flooding less likely, reducing soil erosion and the amount of silt entering rivers.
Water carrying less silt is up to 20 per cent less expensive to treat, requiring fewer chemicals and carbon to turn it into our top quality tap water.