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Keeping Rivers Flowing

Keeping Rivers Flowing

“Nearly a quarter of all English rivers are at serious environmental risk from unsustainable water abstraction and less than 20% are anywhere near good ecological status. ” – Martin Salter, Head of Policy

Sucking water from our rivers at an unsustainable rate is suffocating our precious aquatic ecosystems. The Angling Trust is advocating for water abstraction reform in the United Kingdom to restore our rivers to their former glory and mitigate against the future impacts of climate change.

 

What We Are Doing

Keeping Our Rivers Alive

Lobbying for Water Abstraction Reform

Since we were founded in 2009, the Angling Trust has been campaigning for reform of the systems that govern how much water can be taken from our rivers and groundwater. The 1963 Water Act set up the current system of abstraction licences that allows water companies, farmers, and business to take water for their own use. This has led to too much water being taken from our environment in too many cases. No consideration seems to have been given to the needs of our rivers, fish and the environment. Things have improved since 1963, but with a growing population, increased development, particularly in the South East, and the impacts of climate change, our rivers are suffering. Government, regulators, and water companies are currently reviewing plans for how water is managed and used in the future. Working with other organisations, such as local chalk stream group and conservation organisations who form the Blueprint for Water group, the Angling Trust is pushing for greater reform that will ensure more water is left in our environment for the benefit of fish, the water environment and us all to enjoy.

Protecting Our Chalk Streams

England is home to around 85% of the world’s chalk streams. They are a unique global asset, supporting a rich variety of wildlife and high-quality habitats. Their crystal-clear chalk fed waters flow from as far south as Dorset to as far north as Yorkshire, or they should. Over-abstraction and pollution are destroying many of our chalk steams. Even those that seem healthy are struggling. We’re losing precious wildlife and drastically reducing their ability to tolerate drought and the impacts of the climate emergency. The chalk streams of the Chilterns and in the East of England are particularly badly hit. The restoration of our chalk streams should be a national priority. The Angling Trust, along with many local chalk stream groups, Salmon and Trout Conservation, the Wild Trout Trust, the Rivers Trust and WWF are campaigning to provide better protection for these globally important rivers.

Protecting Against Drought

Over-abstraction of our freshwater resources is debilitating their ability to cope with the realities of drought. These impacts will only intensify as the looming threat of climate change continues to near closer and become our everyday. Nearly a quarter of all the rivers in England are at risk because of the enormous quantities of water being removed by farms, businesses and people’s homes. River levels and groundwater supplies across the country have been scarce for sometime as Britain has experienced a number of consecutive dry summers, particularly in the South East of England. Drought spells disaster for our beloved wildlife and can result in thousands of fish dying, millions of pounds worth of damage and significant declines of wetland habitat. The Angling Trust are lobbying the government and water companies for water abstraction reform to prevent the unsustainable removal of water from our freshwater systems to better equip them in the face of climate change.
 

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