Reservoirs & Irrigation

Through its four reservoirs, western reservoir, eastern reservoir, Waterden reservoir and Castle Acre reservoir, Holkham is able to store 600,000 cubic metres of water, which helps secure the potato operation, and if needed, cereals and sugar beet.

The water is abstracted from three local rivers – the Stiffkey, the Nar and the Burn, on a winter license that runs from 1st November to 31st March each year. The water is pumped out of the rivers into the reservoirs with the eastern reservoir using solar energy to offset driving the pump. The water is mainly used to irrigate potatoes, which are thirsty plants and the surplus is used on other crops such as sugar beet when needed.

Application of the water is by 16 irrigators and six booms. The booms are more environmentally friendly and apply the water more efficiently and accurately than the irrigators, that are designed to fire jets of water. Probes in the ground measure the amount of moisture and assess when there is the need to irrigate, whilst automatic rain gauges measure any rain that falls.

There is a weather station in the park to constantly monitor up-to-date weather conditions. All this information can be viewed from the farm office computer.