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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

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.