The River Nar: one year on

See how our partnership with WWF-UK is helping to restore and protect English rivers like the Nar

As World Water Day is celebrated around the globe, we’re looking back on a year of progress through our English river restoration work with WWF-UK.

The River Nar in the Norfolk countryside is a unique chalk stream river and a site of special scientific interest, and in its healthiest stretches its waters are pure, clear and teeming with wildlife like otters, water voles, trout and kingfishers.

The river is directly linked to our business – it flows through an area where around 80% of the British sugar beet we use in our drinks grows.

Did you know? There are only 200 chalk stream rivers in the world and 165 are in the UK.

Through our partnership with WWF-UK, we’ve been helping to solve some of the problems facing rural chalk streams like the Nar, helping the river get closer to good ecological status, a requirement under the EU Water Framework Directive.

Solving problems

Wet weather can cause fertilisers and pesticides from local farms to seep into the river, causing excessive algal growth and destroying the natural habitats of local wildlife.

We’re working with farmers to find practical ways to reduce agricultural pollution and we’re helping to repair the erosion of road verges which contributes to this problem during wet weather.

We’re also working to restore the river to its most natural, meandering state in places where it’s been artificially changed over the years to flow in straight trenches. This helps the river and surrounding meadows work more harmoniously together in times of flood and makes the river a more attractive home for wildlife.

See the river brought to life in our gallery:

Image 1: River channels were artificially straightened to provide more space for agriculture, but these channels became aquatic deserts, with no habitat for wildlife.

Image 2: We’ve literally changed the path of the river to restore its original meandering route over the floodplain.

Image 3: Now this section of the river is more ecologically stable and a much better habitat for the local wildlife.

Image 4: Only a couple of months after digging the new channel and the river is already flowing with more water.

The importance of water

Water is the main ingredient in all of our drinks, and an essential part of how we make them, which is why we’re committed to using water responsibly and sustainably and showing other businesses how they can reduce their impact on freshwater resources.

Our partnership with WWF-UK gives us the opportunity to improve the local environments we work in and helps towards our goal to return the water used in our drinks back to nature and the community.

Photography: Simon Rawles

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