Having lost, or at least misplaced, the files for the film I made for the WWF almost exactly ten years ago, I was pleased to find it still on YouTube.
You can watch the film, Rivers on the Edge HERE
The aim of this film was to highlight the chalk-stream abstraction crisis and suggest ways that we can all make a difference, not least by using less water. That last idea still stands – we need to be far more careful in our use of a precious resource – but I remember only hoping against hope back then that OFWAT would take an interest in the environmental impact of abstraction, that water companies would even acknowledge that abstraction denuded chalk-streams, that we would ever see a meaningful attempt to engage in the issue.
Well, things have changed and I’m happy to say that RAPID, the organisation set up to oversee OFWAT’s strategic review of water resources across the south east, is taking a keen interest in our Chalk Streams First idea. Thames Water and Affinity water appear to be engaging with it seriously too. Hopefully we (the Chalk-Streams First coalition*) will soon be able to say what shape and form the investigation of the idea will take and how we will remain involved.
We need to count in decades when it comes to the progress of our battle against the abstraction of chalk-streams. If anything, the fact that I made this film in 2009 and yet the drying rivers I walked along then were bone dry in the spring of 2017, just shows how desperately we need our Chalk-Streams First initiative to be taken seriously.
* Chalk-Streams First is supported by a coalition of The Rivers Trust, The Angling Trust, WWF UK, Salmon & Trout Conservation and The Wild Trout Trust : we are calling for the idea to be included in OFWAT’s multi-million pound strategic review of water resources across the south east.