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May 3, 2018
Category: Abstraction
Posted by: Kathryn

With an ever-growing demand for drinking water and increasingly extreme weather events, how do we get the water we need without causing even more harm to our rivers?

May 2, 2018
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

Our riverfly monitors are back out in the centre of Chesham checking for life in the Chess now that flow has returned.

Mar 24, 2018
Category: HS2
Posted by: Kathryn

A public meeting with HS2 and the Environment Agency looked at the risks posed by tunnelling to the groundwater and rivers of the Chess and Misbourne Valleys.

Dec 31, 2017
Category: Conservation
Posted by: Kathryn

Restoration works to a tributary of the Chess are planned for early 2018.

Latest News

Recharge Gets Going

Feb 9, 2011

Category: Rainfall & River Levels
Posted by: Kathryn

The Chess at RickmansworthThe latest Water Situation Report produced by the Environment Agency shows that January was a good month for water levels in the Chess. While the month started and ended relatively dry, the wet middle weeks meant that the Colne catchment (the area including the Chess) had 120% of the long term average (LTA) rainfall for the month and 125% of the LTA effective rainfall. Effective rainfall is that which percolates through the soils to contribute to groundwater and ultimately feed into the river.

The groundwater levels are routinely recorded at Ashley Green and by the beginning of January levels had declined below normal for the time of year. However, by the end of the month with recharge beginning, levels had recovered back into the normal range. Although levels are increasing, the rate of recovery may be slow due to the drier weather experienced at the end of January and the dry conditions that occurred in the preceding months.

Flow in the Chess was recorded as normal, with the exception of the upper reaches in Chesham, which had very little flow. The improving situation can be seen near the Queens Head in old Chesham, where there is now some flow in the channel, compared with an almost dry bed a couple of weeks ago.

However, looking over a longer period, the picture is not quite so rosy. Over the winter period covering the 1st October 2010 to 31st January 2011, there was only 89% of LTA rainfall and 81% LTA effective rainfall. With only two months left of the winter recharge season, and the groundwater levels at Ashley Green being 6 metres below that recorded this time last year, experts are concerned that there could be low flows in the Chess by the end of summer.

To view the full Water Situation Report, visit the Environment Agency's web site.