The BBC has added its weight to the debate about the over-abstraction of Britain’s iconic chalk rivers on Radio 4’s Face the Facts programme.
Our tap water costs less than a tenth of a penny per litre. Most of it comes from rivers. A licensing system designed more than half a century ago means water companies can legally, and easily, extract large quantities of good quality water from water courses to deliver cheaply to the consumer. But, as John Waite reveals, it’s the environment that is all too often paying the price for our low water bills.
As climate change and a growing population puts water supplies under increasing pressure, John Waite investigates an outdated licensing system which is depleting many water courses. He hears of the ‘lamentable stewardship’ of iconic chalk streams, some of which now run completely dry; the missed opportunity in the recent Water Bill to tackle the long-known problem of over abstraction, and the dilemma facing the government and the water companies – put prices up to pay for costly alternatives, or let rivers pay the price?
Water plans: tell Affinity we must protect rivers
There’s just weeks left to tell Affinity Water that we must protect our local rivers as an urgent priority.
Affinity are making plans for the future and want their customers’ views. This is your chance to tell them that our rivers matter – for wildlife, and for people.
In Hertfordshire we use more water than any other county in the UK – our area is seriously water stressed.
A large amount of this water is taken from the sources of our precious chalk streams, threatening their ecology.
Rivers like the Mimram and the Beane, which are home to special wildlife including water voles, kingfishers and brown trout, simply dry up when we take too much water.
Tell Affinity that protecting the environment, especially our precious chalk streams, should be a priority in their future plans.