Water Industry News

Bishop’s Stortford Residents Urged To Protect Chalk Streams

England’s rivers and chalk streams form a hugely important part of the country’s natural landscape, providing local communities with fresh drinking water, as well as supporting urban growth, business, transport and agriculture.


Out of the 260 true chalk streams to be found around the world, 224 of these are in England – but many of them are now at risk of disappearing altogether, facing threats like climate change and water abstraction.


In Bishop’s Stortford, a historic market town in Hertfordshire, rare chalk streams like the River Stort can be found… and the region’s utility company, Affinity Water, is now calling on residents to take action and save these streams, as part of its Save Our Streams campaign.


According to the Bishop’s Stortford Independent, customers in the township use 2.5 per cent more water per person each day than the national average… although 59 per cent think they actually use less.


Consequently, people are now being asked to save 18 litres of water a day, with the water supplier providing hints, tips and inspiration to help them achieve this. A pilot scheme carried out in St Albans in 2020 saw over 700,000 litres of water a day saved – and Affinity is keen to see 21 million litres of water saved each day.


Director of corporate affairs and communities Jake Rigg said: “Affinity Water is committed to ending unsustainable abstraction from local streams, but it must be a community effort. Saving water at home will not only help us do this, it will support our efforts towards a zero-carbon future.


“To help everyone tackle their water-wasting habits, we have created SaveOurStreams.co.uk, a new and genuinely helpful resource. The website provides tailored advice for easy wins to help us all waste less water, as well as offering water-saving freebies.”


Advice includes having four-minute showers to save up to 15 litres of water per shower, turning off the tap while brushing teeth to save more than 6,500 litres of water annually, saving water and electricity by only boiling the amount of water you need, and not using your hosepipe on the garden.


Apparently, using your hose for an hour uses the same amount of water as the average family of four will use in a day and a half!


Water abstraction isn’t the only problem facing the nation’s chalk streams, however, and global warming is having an impact, increasing the number of heatwaves and droughts we see, which is also drying out the waterways.


A recent WWF report found that 77 per cent of chalk streams in England are now failing to meet the required Good status, with just 12 out of the 224 currently under protection. Key pressures were over-abstraction, sewage pollution, physical modification, agriculture and septic tanks.


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