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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

Hosepipe Ban Ends: What About the Chess?

Jul 9, 2012

Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

Today's announcement of an immediate lifting of the water use restrictions (hosepipe ban) by Veolia Central Water, who supply our water locally, is, on the face of it, welcome news. However, if we look below the surface we are not convinced that lifting the ban is the right decision for our environment, and especially the River Chess.

Veolia tells us that groundwater levels in the South East are predicted to rise fractionally above 94m above sea level before falling away during the rest of the Summer. The Meades Water Gardens near the centre of Chesham stands at about 99m above sea level, so it is not difficult to understand why the river is still dry through Chesham [see below].

The dry river channel in Meades Water Gardens

In its announcement, Veolia said "It must be stressed that groundwater levels still remain lower than normal. Prolonged and substantial rainfall particularly during the next autumn and winter period, will be needed to restore groundwater to normal levels. A third dry autumn and winter would make a hosepipe ban next year a possibility so we would like to urge our customers to continue to use water wisely".

From this it seems clear that Veolia is prepared to put the convenience of its customers above fundamental environmental considerations. Equally, our politicians seem prepared to allow this situation to continue. We say it is time for a re-think. Abstraction licences  should be reduced and water metering should be introduced urgently. The future of our chalk streams is at stake,

In the meantime, we echo the call for everyone to treat water as a precious resource and to use it sparingly.