Clean water is essential for life
In 2017 it was recorded that only 14% of rivers in England are considered healthy and our rivers are under increasing pressure from multiple sources – including climate change, diffuse pollution and human modification.
It costs us approximately £1.2billion each year to remove pollutants from water so it is safe to drink and it is lethal to our wildlife too, with declining fish stocks, our wildlife habitats are under threat.
With so much at risk, water quality is at the forefront of what we do. Many water quality problems arise from multiple sources of diffuse pollution, spread across the landscape. This includes; contaminated runoff in both rural and urban areas; incorrect plumbing in homes and businesses, causing sewage to run into rivers; poorly maintained septic tanks; and increased rainfall, resulting in overwhelmed sewage systems.
We are working with volunteers, businesses, landowners, planners and water companies to build greater capacity to improve the water quality and engage the wider public in these issues.
Working with partners we are:
- Improving agricultural practices and farm infrastructure to address chemicals, surface run-off and the erosion of soil.
- Restore natural features such as wetlands and woodlands which helps filter run-off and naturally clean the water.
- Create green infrastructure in towns and cities, to slow the flow of surface run-off and reduce the risk of sewer systems overflowing.
- Monitor water quality to identify misconnected pipes and pollution hotspots.
- Raise awareness in the local community about pipes and drains and their impact on water quality.
As well as improving water quality these solutions can often help reduce the risk of flooding, create wildlife habitats, drive business efficiencies and improve our health and well-being.
We support our member trusts through training, mentoring and the development of modelling, monitoring and assessment tools, which can help identify sources of pollution and target solutions effectively.