This project is a Phase 2 follow on project from Rezatec’s Phase 1 project.
The User needed a cost-effective and time-efficient method of monitoring the condition of its large area of peatland assets within their drinking water catchments, in order to improve and protect water quality at the Water Treatment Works. Healthy and intact peatlands act as a huge store and sink of atmospheric carbon, as well as a source of drinking water, and an important habitat for many plants and animals. However, the quality of peatlands has been degraded over many years from drainage, landscape conversion and other anthropogenic disturbances. With rising levels of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in water running off peatlands, water utilities are under increasing pressure to deliver on a safe drinking water supply to consumers as well as the ecological, social and economic benefits of maintaing healthy peatlands. Scottish Water require methods to improve efficiency of water treatment across its c. 12,000km2 of catchments lying on organic rich soils through upstream catchment management that maximises the effectiveness of its limited resources. In order to perform effective catchment management, Scottish Water required a remote method for monitoring peatland extent and condition over such a large area, i.e. required assistance in using EO datasets and creating landscape intelligence from them.
This project has provided a solution for a Devolved Administration of the Scottish Government, Scottish Water, by developing a tool for more effectively and sustainably managing the c. 18% of their water catchments found in peatland areas, spanning large geographical areas across Scotland. Specifically, Rezatec has developed an online, interactive mapping and analysis service based on processed satellite imagery in combination with ground data, which Scottish Water can use to identify areas of degraded peatland within their 450 catchments. Through understanding catchment condition and focusing resources on the restoration of areas that could impact on the quality of water entering their Water Treatment Works, Scottish Water can reduce the cost of downstream water purification and improve ecosystem condition across the Scottish countryside.
The Data Products, visualised and interrogated through the Peatland Management Portal, have been developed using a variety of satellite imagery, e.g. Sentinel-1 SAR and Sentinel-2 optical, in combination with ground data. The component Data Products depict different features of c. 12,000km2 of the User, Scottish Water’s organic-rich water catchments, and include:
The application is being used as a business planning tool by Scottish Water, and integrated into their Strategic Research Plan for Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC). The Portal and its data layers assist the User in locating landscapes with a higher risk of contributing to DOC at present and into the future.
In addition to working with the primary User, Scottish Water, during this project members of the following organisations were consulted and provided feedback on the Portal and Data Products via a workshop held in Edinburgh: Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), RSPB, the James Hutton Institute (JHI), the IUCN UK Peatlands Programme and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) Edinburgh. JHI, SNH, the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) and the British Bryological Society (BBS) all provided invaluable ground data to support the project.
The potential cost of the peatland service is based on the area of land to be analysed, the frequency of updated information required and any third party data costs. The price includes delivery of the service via the Rezatec Portal, a secure, hosted geospatial web environment.
The service is far more efficient than more traditional methods because it enables the User to reduce the time and cost needed to monitor the condition of the often large and remote catchments from which they extract drinking water. The User can now identify areas of degraded peat within a catchment without needing to visit the area, and make preliminary decisions on where to target restoration activities. Users can therefore mitigate against potential impacts more effectively, with greater resources to invest in peatland management and restoration.
The Portal provides a tool that enables the User to reduce the time and cost needed to monitor the condition of the often large and remote catchments from which they extract drinking water. The User can now identify areas of degraded peat within a catchment without needing to visit the area, and make preliminary decisions on where to target restoration activities.
As described by Scottish Water’s Dr Zoë Frogbrook, the User has and will realise the following benefits from the Portal:
“In future we will be using this as a business planning tool. We have over 230 Water Treatment Works, with over 400 catchments supplying them with water. Using the information produced from this project we will:
The User will be able to identify peatland areas of risk to water quality more quickly and at greatly reduced cost, and therefore mitigate against potential impacts more effectively, with greater resources to invest in peatland management and restoration.
Involvement with SSGP through this project has provided Rezatec with invaluable access to user communities, e.g. Scottish Water, and support to develop products and services of interest to Users in the sustainable management of the UK’s peatland resource, a landscape of global importance.