The Rivers Trust, WWF and Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) partners are working together to deliver three water management projects between now and September 2018 to replenish water in the Thames and South East River Basins for the benefit of both people and wildlife.
England’s chalk streams are some of the most precious freshwater habitats in the world and a key source of water for people and business, however, they are under threat from over abstraction, where too much water is taken from them. The selected projects will work in river catchments with local people to improve the resilience and health of rivers by implementing water management solutions such as sustainable drainage systems and the creation of wetlands.
Funded as part of the global Coca-Cola ‘replenish programme’, these three new projects will locally contribute to the company promise to safely return the equivalent amount of water used in all their drinks and production to communities and nature.
Local projects and partners delivering work on the ground are:
Thames21, Bloomfield Park Wetland;
- Thames21, working with Enfield Council, are creating a 0.3-hectare wetland in Broomfield Park, North London. The main objective of the project is to improve water quality in the nearby Pymmes Brook, a tributary of the Lower Lea that is one of the most polluted catchments in the UK. A surface water sewer running through Broomfield Park drains an urban area of 34 hectares and is rich in pollutants. The project will divert the flow from the sewer pipe into the newly constructed wetland, thereby attenuating the pollution before it reaches the brook.
- The project will also realise a reduction in local flood risk as c. 2,500 m3 of water can be stored in the wetland and released slowly over time. The programme of work will engage the local community, for example, in planting up the wetland and, ultimately help to enhance the public amenity value of the Park.
- Coca-Cola European Partners’ Edmonton manufacturing site is located about 10 minutes away from the Broomfield Park site, and employees will be invited to volunteer their time with the local project in due course.
The South-East Rivers Trust, Downstream Defender;
- The Beverley Brook flows through both Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park in southwest London. Despite having the characteristics of a rural river, in places the Brook is heavily impacted by urban pollution, and as a result the ecology of the river has suffered. To address this, South East Rivers Trust will install a ‘downstream defender’ – a large hydrodynamic vortex chamber through which urban runoff is discharged – and in which the various pollutants are trapped at high rates of efficiency.
- The defender will be located adjacent to Richmond Park and will receive runoff from urban land including a nearby estate and major road. As a consequence, pollution within this runoff will be intercepted before it reaches Beverley Brook, improving the health of the river and enhancing the local communities engagement with it.
Kent Wildlife Trust, Ham Fen Peat Basin Restoration Project;
- This project is focused on efforts to restore and enhance Kent’s last remaining ancient semi-natural fenland, Ham Fen, which supports a raft of restricted and rare species. Much of the original fen habitat has been lost through drainage and conversion to intensive grassland.
- The project will focus on increasing the volume of water retained within the Fen, restoring the water table so that the dry surface of peat becomes saturated once again, with a range of associated biodiversity benefits. The quality of water discharging into the Fen will also be addressed, reducing the input of sediment and agro-chemicals. Various techniques are to be used including the installation of water control structures, the planting of reeds and the creation of ‘scrapes’ – shallow depressions that hold water seasonally.
Read more about our partnership work with WWF here.
Photo credit: Clearwater Photography