Water is crucial to all of us, especially those living and working in Essex, one of the driest counties of the country. At a recent conference organised by ECC Spring Climate Change Summit where Andree Ivanov farm manager here at Wilkin and Sons spoke about conserving water and maximising the use of water on the Tiptree farm. His message was so relevant to the current national crisis that it was repeated during an interview filmed with the Tanya Mercer of ITV Anglia as they stood by one of the reservoirs and then with the strawberry plants in the Tiptree New Growing System.

“At Tiptree, we collect water in our winter fill reservoirs and we also pipe surplus water from the factory through to a filtration plant then into the reservoir. This water is used to irrigate the strawberries, raspberries and other fruits during the spring and summer months; without this water we would have no crop,” said Andrey Ivanov. “We believe that we have sufficient rainfall in this county we just need to be more effective about capturing the water and retaining it for careful use in the future.” Recent innovations have ensured that every strawberry plant on the farm receives a measured amount of water to its roots; unlike 20 years ago when large rain guns sprayed water across the open strawberry fields as well as on the adjacent paths, tracks and hedgerows.

Encouraging more people to build surface and covered reservoirs is key to securing water for our future but the cost of construction, filtration and infrastructure can be very costly so government grants and support will be essential to ensure that more people will build reservoirs to provide water for households and farming in the future.