This blog by Alan Woods has also coincided with the announcement by Thames Water to reduce abstraction to help protect the River Wye near High Wycombe

Call for Defra to develop a Chalk Streams Strategy

Alan Wood writes  

‘The Cam Valley Forum’s Let it Flow! report highlights the damage suffered by Cambridgeshire Chalk streams over many decades as a result of groundwater abstraction, pollution, and channel modifications. The Forum proposes an end to over-abstraction, finding alternative ways of meeting public supply needs, and step changes in water demand and drought management.

The Forum’s call for action has been taken up by Anthony Browne MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Environment Group.  In a letter to Rebecca Pow MP he calls for Defra to set up a ‘Chalk Streams Task Force’ to develop and oversee the implementation of a ‘Chalk Streams Strategy’ with the aim of ensuring that chalk streams flow naturally.

The Task Force would:

  • Provide a focus for collaborative action to restore and protect chalk streams across England
  • Support the regional water planning bodies, statutory agencies, and voluntary bodies in removing barriers to action to reduce damaging abstraction, restore natural flows, find alternative water sources, and tackle pollution and habitat modifications.
  • Ensure that we meet our international commitments to safeguard these globally rare and fragile environmental assets.

The Cam Valley Forum and Water Resources East have collaborated to develop an initial agenda for action for the Task Force. The detailed proposals cover:

  • Actively promoting water efficiency
  • Promoting shifts in land use and management to safeguard the water environment
  • Supporting collaborative integrated water management planning through regional groups, including the development of new strategic supply options such as reservoirs.
  • Going further and faster on metering
  • Going further and faster to reduce leakage
  • Amending Water Company Service Levels
  • Amending Water Company Drought Trigger Levels
  • Integrating the Drought Response Framework into Water Company Drought Plans

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