Water Industry News

Calderdale Water Quality Improvement Project Yields Dividends

Although rivers and waterways in Calderdale are being put under increasing amounts of pressure because of agricultural practices and rural land management, all is not yet lost for the region and work is now underway to help improve local water quality… with positive results already being seen.


Over the last few months or so, a £50,000 project – Reviving Calderdale’s Rivers – has been the focus for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Water, surveying 42km of river courses to identify the best actions to drive improvements in the region’s waterways.


As part of the ongoing work, river cleanups have taken place, while invasive Himalayan balsam has been removed and willow spiling has been installed to help prevent the erosion of riverbanks.


WIth the help of the FORUS Tree community group, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust several tonnes of rubbish have now been removed from Hebble Brook in Halifax, including shopping trolleys, traffic cones and even a sofa.


Meanwhile, 3.9 hectares of the invasive non-native Himalayan balsam species has been removed from the River Ryburn in Ripponden, important work because the plant chokes river banks and outcompetes native plant species, which causes erosion and habitat reduction, as well as releasing soil in the water which affects water quality.


Furthermore, some 2.7km of river has been enhanced through the use of willow spiling to help reduce erosion. Here, living willow walls have been installed along two farmers’ fields at Strines Beck in Bradshaw in Halifax, preventing large amounts of sediment from being washed into the river during periods of rainfall, protecting water quality and local biodiversity.


Although this project is now coming to a close, the next step for rivers in Calderdale is to use the results from the surveys to deliver even more improvements, with more projects expected to start later on in the year. This is intended to boost the catchment even further, addressing some of the issues that continue to impact water quality and habitats.


Elliot Baxendale, project officer from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with how successful the work carried out as part of the project has been.


“The restoration interventions are a great example of the importance of working with local farmers and landowners to make improvements for all. They will reduce riverbank erosion, increase water quality and provide habitat for river-dwelling species.”


Elsewhere, Yorkshire Water has also just announced that work has now begun on its £180 million storm overflow reduction plan, which will help to improve water quality in the county even more.


Over the next two years, overflows that discharge the most often or for the most amount of time will be targeted, with more than 190 sites already earmarked for investment and work on the first series of improvements already underway.


This round of investment is in addition to the £147 million that is being spent as part of the water company’s current five-year business plan, with the work that is due to be carried out between 2025 and 2030.


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