What we do

Aquarius Project

(Farmers as water managers in the North Sea region)

The Scottish pilot of an EU programme which worked in 6 countries around the North Sea, tasked with finding and implementing “sustainable, integrated land-water management through engaging with local farmers.” The Tarland pilot focused on flood management: no measures were put in place at Tarland, though a flood storage scheme was created at Fettercairn using Aquarius funding.

Aims: To work with farmers to reduce flood risk sustainably, while still maintaining their role as food producers.
Dates: January 2009 – June 2012
Locations: Tarland catchment
Partners: Delivered by a partnership of Aberdeenshire Council, James Hutton Institute and Landcare North East. Local estates and farmers were closely involved throughout.

Actions and outcomes:

  • Questionnaires were sent out to, and workshops held with, local farmers and factors in order to get information and views on the concept of farmers as water managers, and feedback about flood risk maps and potential NFM options.
  • Following detailed hydrodynamic modelling of the Tarland catchment in 2010, two potential flood storage areas (FSA) were taken forward for detailed appraisal by Aberdeenshire Council. Flood maps showing the likely frequency and extent of flooding contained by the planned FSAs were shown to the farmer so that the economic impact could be evaluated, enabling the farmer to decide whether or not to continue.
  • None of the potential sites in Tarland progressed beyond the planning stage as the farmers in question required more definitive evidence that such schemes would work and not create problems on their land. However, a Flood Storage Area demonstration scheme was created outside the Tarland catchment, at Fettercairn, using Aquarius methods and funding.

Current status: Complete. However, work at Tarland is now being taken forward by the James Hutton Institute through the follow-up WaterCAP programme, which draws on knowledge from past EU InterReg projects from around the North Sea.
Funding: Funded through the EU Interreg IVb Programme (concluded 2013), the Scottish Government and Aberdeenshire Council.
Other information: To view the documents related to this project please click here.