The trinity of chalk stream health. Flow.

It’s worth remembering, amidst the not-before-time recognition of the scandal of sewage spills, that chalk streams suffer from a variety of ills, not just the evocatively disgusting discharge of raw sewage.

Flow is of course, fundamental. Without flow you have no river. And when flow is denuded, all those other ills, especially poor water quality, are magnified.

In May 2017 I took a tour through the Chilterns to take pictures of chalk streams which, although we were at the front end of a drought, should have been flowing and at their fullest for the year. In London’s orbit, chalk streams are still heavily abstracted, with abstraction rates in many catchments running at 20% – 60% of average catchment recharge. The coalition of NGOs on the CaBA chalk stream panel argues that A%R should be under 10% if flows are to get close to meeting their WFD targets.

For a look at our assessment of abstraction pressure as a % of catchment recharge on 55 chalk catchments look at pages 41/42 of the CaBA chalk stream restoration strategy ‘full report’ and also pages 14 / 15 of the ‘appendices’ on this LINK.

To view the full gallery of my pictures, click HERE.

My images of dry rivers get used a lot, which is great. That’s why I took them. Anyone campaigning for chalk streams is welcome to use them, but it would be appreciated if they’re used with permission and a credit.

River Rib, Buntingford
River Beane, High Wood
River Quin, Little Hornmead Bury
River Ver, Redbourn Gauging Weir
River Chess, Chesham

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