Demonstration Test Catchments (DTC) is a UK government-funded project designed to provide robust evidence regarding how diffuse pollution from agriculture can be cost-effectively controlled to improve and maintain water quality in rural river catchment areas.
The DTC project is currently working in four study catchments in England, which are representative of 80% of UK soil-rainfall combinations and the major farm types in England and Wales.
The catchments were selected in order to build on existing infrastructure, datasets, knowledge and farming contacts developed through previous and ongoing initiatives, which have not previously been well linked.
The catchments are also undergoing enhanced monitoring through the England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative.
- The Eden in Cumbria
- The Wensum in Norfolk
- The Avon in Hampshire - and the Tamar on the Devon/Cornwall border in close association with the Westcountry Rivers Trust.
DTC was established to address the gap in empirical evidence on the cost-effectiveness of combinations of diffuse pollution mitigation measures at catchment scales. By setting up as a platform with a community of researchers working closely with local stakeholders (practitioners and policy-delivery agents) and policy-makers.
DTC has three main roles:
- As a programme of linked and co-ordinated research projects to provide underpinning research, from farm to catchment scale, that informs policy and practical approaches
- As a research platform: to host longer-term collaborative research on diffuse pollution from agriculture
- As a demonstration and co-ordination activity to demonstrate scientifically robust approaches to diffuse pollution mitigation