Project update – Catchment Benchmarking

  • New report on Catchment Partnerships across the North West River Basin District published

Natural Course has published its first report from the catchment benchmarking project.

The project is looking at how Catchment Partnerships are currently working across the North West River Basin District, their challenges, good practices, and opportunities to make the most of available funds.  It will also identify whether opportunities exist to increase capacity in the partnerships, and if needed, how to achieve it.

The report finalises the first phase of the project, focusing on establishing an understanding of the partnerships and challenges they face.

The research, commissioned to Eunomia, has identified a range of areas where Catchment Partnerships could be supported to build capability and confidence.  The findings include:

  • The 11 Catchment Partnerships within the North West River Basin District differ in how they are structured, the number of partners regularly involved and how often they meet.
  • Although there are some common challenges across partnerships, they have different strengths (and hence different areas where support could be helpful).
  • There are a number of factors that contribute to the overall success of the partnerships, such as the use of data and evidence, a well-developed pipeline of projects, good communication with wider stakeholders, reputation, the ability to influence, and additional funds to supplement core funding.
  • Common challenges involve resource levels, funding, having the right people involved (and related to this, stimulating involvement, insufficient outcomes from delivery, and policy agendas at a higher level).

The research also identified examples of good practices to overcome common challenges, opportunities, and a range of areas where Catchment Partnerships could be supported to build capability and confidence.

Adam Chapman (Natural Course Project Manager) says…

“Natural Course and Eunomia are working closely with Environment Agency Catchment Co-ordinators, Catchment Hosts and partners to ascertain examples of good practices across the catchments that could be shared amongst the North West River Basin District Catchment Partnerships to drive Water Framework Directive outcomes. The first phase involved data collection and stakeholder interviews, and we will build on this in subsequent phases to form a capacity building action plan for the partnerships.”

 The full report can be accessed here

The second phase of the project is to create a tailored version of the national CaBA self-evaluation framework, reflecting the specific needs of the partnerships.  It will however be adapted to put more focus on capacity and skills, sharing of work, building local standing and connections to donors, local understanding of the catchment, prioritisation process, wider influence, and data use.