Since the second world war, rapid population growth, urbanisation and demand for cheaper food have damaged natural river systems, causing many problems, such as loss of biodiversity, water pollution and increased flood risk. These impact on all of us, whether directly, through flood damage to property and infrastructure, or indirectly through escalating costs of drinking water, sewerage services or property insurance.
The complexities of the water cycle mean collaborative working is essential for improvement and is why we work in partnership with local councils, government agencies, water companies, environmental NGOs, community groups, landowners and farmers.
Unsustainable farming practices, development, pollution, urbanisation and abstraction are all factors that have contributed to over 10% of our freshwater and wetland species facing extinction in the UK. Thousands of species including well-loved animals such as kingfishers, otters, dippers, water voles and salmon rely on healthy rivers and wetland habitats.
We provide advice on water friendly farming practices that avoids damaging our river and streams. Poorly maintained farm tracks and gateways create a pollution pathway for chemicals, fertilisers and excess sediment to runoff into nearby rivers and streams. We advise farmers and landowners to fence off watercourses to prevent cattle from poaching ground that can lead to erosion, increased siltation and over-wide channels.