Food industry bosses explore East Anglia's commercial water cycle
Senior business leaders from the food and drink sector were shown various stages of the commercial water cycle during an event aimed at inspiring more collaborative stewardship of the resource.
The Prince’s Seeing is Believing visit was organised by Business In The Community, funded by Defra and led by Anglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson and Dr Andy Wood, chief executive of Southwold-based brewer Adnams.
The aim was to explore the importance of water stewardship and highlight the business risks linked to water scarcity, pollution, rising prices and heightened regulations.
The visit started at the Adnams brewery in Southwold, where delegates were told that water-saving innovations had achieved a ratio of 3.1 pints of water used per pint of beer produced, while most of the industry was still between six and eight pints.
To understand impacts elsewhere in the food chain, delegates visited the Elveden Estate near Thetford to see how the LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) demonstration farm is trialling new methods to maximise productivity with minimum environmental impact.
Farm manager Andrew Francis showed one of the two purpose-built reservoirs which allowed the estate to irrigate during dry periods without depleting precious groundwater supplies.
There was also a trip to Anglian Water’s Water Recycling Centre at Whitlingham, where delegates were told of the complexities involved in managing water quality and treatment, and the company’s 25-year plan to ensure safe and reliable supplies to the region.
Food firms at the visit on October 6 included Warburtons, KP Snacks, Waitrose, Quorn Foods, Marks and Spencer, while there were also representatives from Defra, the Environment Agency, and agricultural buying group Anglia Farmers.