More news...

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

February Water Update

Mar 16, 2011

Category: Rainfall & River Levels
Posted by: Kathryn

The Environment Agency's Water Situation Report for February 2011 shows a decent month for rainfall, but overall the winter period has been drier than average. The Colne catchment (which includes the Chess) had 52 mm of rainfall in February, which equals 112% of the long-term average. Of that, 38mm were effective rainfall - that which percolates through soils to contribute to groundwater and ultimately feed the river - which is 100% of the long-term average.

Water crowfoot flowers - copyright Allen BeecheyNormal flows were recorded down the length of the Chess, except for the very upper reaches in Chesham, which were dry. The groundwater levels recorded at Ashley Green were an improvement upon January and were back in the normal range.

Whilst January and February were pretty wet, the end of 2010 was drier than normal, which means that the total effective rainfall so far this winter is only 85% of the long-term average. This winter groundwater recharge period has a major impact on the amount of water flowing in the river later in the year. Unless March and April yield above average rainfall, the possibility of low flows is on the cards for this summer and autumn.

Low flows are bad news because less water in the river can result in a number of problems, including: increased sediment deposition, which reduces fish spawning habitat; disruption to the movement of fish and invertebrates; and the worsening of water quality as the river is less able to dilute pollution.

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