Shocking facts about rivers

Shocking facts about the state of rivers

We want to equip people with the knowledge to speak up for and protect our rivers. Many people simply don’t realise the level of threat freshwater habitats are facing. With a greater understanding of their plight, we can start to demand and enact change. Here are some of the most shocking facts about rivers – you have been warned!

Since 1970, freshwater species have seen an 83% decline. That’s faster than any other type of habitat

If we want to save the magnificent species which call rivers home, we need to act now.

A third of water taken from rivers is wasted (through leaks, treatment losses, and in the home)

Many of our rivers are suffering under the burden of water abstraction. When we take too much water, it can spell disaster for the rest of the ecosystem.

40% of all rivers in England and Wales are polluted with sewage

We want our rivers to be clean, healthy places for people to spend time. Who would want to swim in a river polluted with sewage?!

Only 1% of the rivers in England, Scotland and Wales are free of artificial barriers

Artificial barriers can cause many issues, ranging from preventing fish migration to altering sediment deposition. This can massively affect the functioning of the river system, with disastrous consequences for biodiversity.

Less than one in five rivers in England and Wales are classed as in good ecological health

Rivers are hugely valuable habitats, but few are considered ecologically healthy. This means that they are in poor condition, which prevents them from providing many valuable services.

Freshwater ecosystems provide habitat for more than 100,000 known species of fishes, molluscs, reptiles, insects, plants and mammals despite covering less than 1% of the Earth’s surface

Freshwater habitats are vital for a huge number of species, and contain disproportionately more species than any other habitat type.