Save Water to Save our Chilterns Chalk Streams!
by Chilterns Chalk Streams Project
Did you know that in the Chilterns, we have the highest per capita domestic water use in the UK? Water Saving Week 2022 ran from 23rd to 30th May. The River Chess Smarter Water Catchment Project team put together a series of social media posts flagging up why saving water makes such a difference to our nine, rare and special Chilterns Chalk Streams and their habitats. Here is a summary of those tips.
- Since the 1970’s the frequency of droughts and our demand for water has increased.
- The 2019 drought saw some of the lowest flows across the nine Chilterns Chalk Streams and by September of that year 67% of the total length of chalk stream habitat in the Chilterns AONB was dry.
- Over the last 5 years both Affinity Water and Thames Water have reduced abstraction at sites in the Ver, Gade, Chess, Misbourne, Wye and Hughenden valleys as part of their sustainability reductions programme.
- Water companies and the Environment Agency are monitoring flows in these rivers in an effort to track the impact this change may be having.
It is our responsibility as a society to ensure we are working towards being more sustainable with our water use to ensure dry rivers are not considered the norm and that future generations are able to enjoy chalk streams that are healthy and vibrant with abundant flows.
How can I help save water?
Climate change is changing the patterns and predictability of our UK rainfall. We’re seeing more intense rainfall and longer periods without rainfall. There is a greater risk of severe flooding and droughts.
You can be a water saving hero & alleviate the effects of droughts!
- Install a water butt to collect rain water – use this to water your garden.
- Rain water is untreated – it doesn’t cost you a penny!
- Use a watering can instead of a a hose – this dramatically decreases your garden water consumption.
- Affinity Water offers the chance to receive a subsidised water butt direct from their website.
The Chess Smarter Water Catchment Initiative
The River Chess Smarter Water Catchment project is delivered by a number of stakeholders all working collectively towards the same goals of protecting the River Chess.
By tackling multiple pressures and problems simulations across the catchment of the River Chess, the Smarter Water Catchment partnership is aiming to do and achieve more for nature and local people over the next year 10 years.
A chalk stream, far-reaching valley views, a tucked-away Manor House and the mewing of red kites for company on this circular Chess Valley walk.
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