On July 6, 2023, our East Devon AONB summer event hosted South West Water (SWW), Westcountry Rivers Trust (WRT), and the East Devon Catchment Partnership (CBA) for a half-day event at East Budleigh Village Hall. Centered on the theme “Challenges & Opportunities”, the event aimed to spark conversations about local water-related issues and promote collaboration. 

Event Purpose

The core aim of this event was to create a space for open dialogue and shared learning.

To highlight the challenges and opportunities faced by the region concerning water management, SWW, WRT, and the CBA delivered presentations on essential subjects such as water resources, wastewater management, nature-based solutions, citizen science, and local catchment partnerships.

View the presentation slides:

Water Resources Management: Nick Paling, SWW

Reduce storm overflows: Vicky Garner, SWW

A Catchment-based Approach: Alex Swan, Environment Agency

Nature-Based Solutions: Dr. David Smith, SWW

West Country Citizen Science: Dr. Nicola Rogers, West Country Rivers Trust


Collaborative Group Session

SWW then led a group workshop to identify local water management challenges and opportunities. This step aimed to better understand community concerns and promote collaboration among stakeholders.

Participants divided into groups to discuss the AONB’s best features, cherished places, outdoor access, and local initiatives deserving protection. They also identified issues like litter, pollution, access challenges, and climate impacts. After discussions, group results were consolidated, and participants voted for top choices, emphasising priority action areas within East Devon’s AONB.

Results from the group work:

Identifying priorities for improvement & collaboration


Looking Ahead

The event involving multiple stakeholders was a big step forward in engaging with key parties invested in water-related issues and opportunities in East Devon. It reminded us how crucial it is to talk, understand each other’s concerns, and work together.


View more on the project here: Exploring water management.