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Dec 31, 2017
Category: Conservation
Posted by: Kathryn

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

Nov 21, 2017
Category: Abstraction
Posted by: Kathryn

River Chess groundwater levels at record lows, a dry river in Chesham for a year, but no water restrictions from Affinity Water.

Sep 18, 2017
Category: General
Posted by: Kathryn

A public River Chess forum will take place in support of the World Wildlife Fund's 'Nature Needs You' campaign.

Jul 12, 2017
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

With groundwater levels now exceptionally low, the river in Chesham is dry as far as Lord's Mill, Waterside.

Latest News

Water Levels Declined in November

Dec 18, 2010

Category: Rainfall & River Levels
Posted by: Kathryn

Groundwater recharge remained below average during November, leading to concerns of low flows in 2011. The Environment Agency's Water Situation Report for the Thames North East region showed that the area covering the Chess received 83% of the long-term average during the month. However, the intense nature of the rainfall events, particularly at the start of the month, meant that a significant amount of the rain that fell ended up running-off into the drainage system. This means that less of the rainwater was able to percolate through the soil to contribute to the groundwater; what is known as effective rainfall. As it is groundwater that feeds the Chess and maintains its water levels, the amount of effective rainfall is key to keeping the river flowing. The winter months (October - March) are the most important for recharging groundwater, as most rainfall occurs during this period.  So far this winter however, effective rainfall has only been 57% of the long-term average.

There have been significant cold, dry periods of late, which could mean below average rainfall levels for December, too. Groundwater levels are still declining and recharge (when levels begin to rise again) may not happen until January next year, whereas recharge can begin as early as November.

A later recharge could mean two things of concern for the Chess; a shorter recharge period causing reduced water levels in the river and less flow in the river in early spring when trout breed. Decent flow is needed for trout to breed successfully, as the flow keeps the riverbed gravels well oxygenated and free of silt, which is essential for the survival of fertilised trout eggs.

You can view the full Water Situation Report on the Environment Agency's web site.