Water Credits

What are water credits?

Water quality credits are a green finance mechanism which support sustainable water management and aquatic habitat restoration by encouraging water-efficient technologies and practices. They act as an incentive to stakeholders to mitigate the environmental impact on water quality and use. Such mitigation can include converting land to semi-natural wetlands, woodlands or grassland habitats. This approach can generate positive nutrient impacts to wider ecosystems when designed and managed properly.

Much like carbon credits, water credits can be generated by stakeholders who demonstrate the appropriate management of water resources. Landowners within a certain watershed who implement conservation and restoration practices to lower pollutants are compensated for their efforts. Water quality trading allows more flexible and cost-effective approaches to reducing pollution.​

They can then be sold to entities such as water utilities, developers or businesses as a way of offsetting and mitigating the nutrient pollution created by their project or activities. Mitigation initiatives include wetland restoration and aquatic habitat management. This can be either on-site or within ecosystems as close as possible to those affected by project development.

Real Wild Estates
Water Credits
dragonfly water credits


To ensure the validity of the credits sold, the impact of these initiatives are measured and verified by certified bodies. Once verified, credits can be created with the value ascribed representing the ecological benefits produced by the initiative. Typically these are part of nutrient mitigation schemes created by Natural England. Under such schemes, entities seeking to offset the impact of their project on water quality will apply to purchase credits in order to demonstrate the ‘nutrient neutrality‘ of their project.

If you are a developer, business, landowner or land manager in need of advice on restoring wetland habitats, managing river restoration projects or generating diverse natural capital income through water credits, speak to our team.

Balancing nature recovery with business viability ensures returns for nature and for you.

Aim Wilder
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