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Water Appeal

 
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Koz
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:04 pm    Post subject: Water Appeal Reply with quote

Dear Fellow Complete Fishers,


I hope you will not find my post out of place on the forum but there's a couple of rivers that could do with your help.

I live close to and work regularly over in South West Wiltshire on the rivers Till and Wylye. The current drought conditions are having a serious impact on water levels in the river and all associated flora and fauna is starting to struggle. Wessex Water is still refusing to impose a hosepipe ban even though our rivers in West Wiltshire are still critically low.
Wessex Water are abstracting huge amounts of water from a natural chalk aquifer on Salisbury plain and pumping it miles away to places like Taunton and Bath to supplement local supplies. It just so happens that water filtered naturally through chalk is relatively clean and needs minimal treatment before it is potable. In a nutshell this practice is mainly profit driven. For whatever reasons, they don't seem to want to spend money on better water capture/ storage facilities nearer the two towns mentioned above. Even though both towns lie within areas that do not struggle for water supplies due to their geographic locations. All this in the light of millions of pounds of profit made year in year out.
I could go on but I'll get off the soap box now.... and just ask if you would please copy and paste the following letter and send it to the either the email or postal address below, the river and its inhabitants, would be really grateful.


Thanks so much for your help.

Luke







Dear Wessex Water,

I am writing as a one of your customers and as someone who has become increasingly concerned about the lack of water in our internationally protected chalk based rivers, particularly the Rivers Wylye and its tributaries. Even when we have a good wet winter, which recharges the chalk aquifer fully, the flow rates are usually very poor by the end of every summer and considerably below the environment agency’s long-term average for recorded river flows.

The current protracted drought that we are experiencing is adding to the already significant impact of damaging levels of abstraction from the Wylye’s catchment for public water supply and is making the situation very much worse.

Recent announcements in the national news that other Water Companies slightly further East have seen fit to introduce water restrictions as a result of very low rainfall and diminishing water supplies have made me and all those in this region concerned with the welfare of Wiltshire’s chalk rivers ponder the question – why have Wessex Water not followed suit?

There is absolutely no doubt that water resources in this region are equally as much “in drought” as those further east.

The Environment Agency monthly Hydrology data shows this very clearly.

The mean monthly flow for Nov 2011 at South Newton on the Wylye was the lowest on record.
The groundwater levels in the Tilshead aquifer, seen as the major indicator for base flows for the Upper Avon and Wylye – were their lowest February levels since 1976.
8 out of the last 12 months in this region have had below average rainfall.
The 5 month recharge period of Oct 2011 to Feb 2012 only received 68% of the average rainfall, resulting in the lowest recharge since 1992 and the 9th lowest since 1914.
The mean monthly flows as a % of long term average in the Wylye at South Newton have shown a very worrying downward spiral since Nov 2011 as shown below. The figure for Feb is the lowest of all the rivers shown on the Environment Agency’s Water Situation Report web site.
Nov = 32% Dec = 26% Jan = 25% Feb = 22%

Groundwater aquifers are a finite resource and abstraction rates need to be kept to the absolute minimum during this summer if we are not to see very serious damage to the aquatic environment. Most winterbourne streams in Wiltshire and Dorset failed to flow at all this winter and I fear many upper river stretches will dry up resulting in huge losses of fish, invertebrates and other wildlife species supposedly internationally protected by SSSI and SAC status.
Wessex Water should be making all of its customers very aware of the perilous state of our rivers through proper use of all media communication methods so as to encourage the use of less water.
Wessex Water should also recognise the importance of ‘environmental drought’ and I believe that your drought plans should be triggered by environmental conditions, not just by water resource considerations.
Regardless of reduced incomes from supply and financial penalties from OFWAT I believe that a properly publicised hosepipe ban should be introduced now, while it can still be of some use.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,


BY EMAIL:
press.office@wessexwater.co.uk

BY POST:
Julian Dennis
Wessex Water
Claverton Down
Bath
BA2 7WW
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spider
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply From Wessex Water Reply with quote

Got this reply this morning

Thank you for your e-mail of 23 March about river flows.

The drought in the south east has been well publicised and water companies in that area have found it necessary to restrict customer supplies and in some cases, to seek drought permits and orders which give them greater flexibility in the how they abstract water from the environment.

In the western region we are slightly more fortunate in terms of rainfall and Wessex Water’s resource position is currently satisfactory, with reservoirs at 85%. Groundwater levels and river flows are low, but overall our resource position puts us in band two of our four drought planning bands, which is relatively normal for the time of year. Restrictions on water use are part of our strategy, but they come into play in the fourth zone. Currently we do not anticipate restrictions or drought permits being required this year. There is no penalty from Ofwat for imposing a hosepipe ban.

To protect the environment during a drought, we always maintain compliance with the conditions attached to our abstraction licences. For many sources these conditions require us to take less water when river flows are low (Codford source) or require us to provide stream support water (Brixton Deverill, Kingston Deverill and Chitterne). In some cases it is recognised that licence conditions have not been set appropriately. Where this is the case we work with the Environment Agency, Natural England, Ofwat (our economic regulator) and other groups, such as the Wiltshire Fisheries Association, to agree changes required. As you will be aware, in 2011 we reduced the annual licence on our Chitterne source by almost 75%, and on completion of our “Grid” project further reductions will be made at some of our sources in the River Wylye and Bourne catchments. Details of this Grid project are available at http://www.wessexwater.co.uk/about/threecol.aspx?id=6960.

We are informing our customers about the impact of the dry weather in a variety of ways. For example we have recently updated our website to reflect the current conditions (http://www.wessexwater.co.uk/water-and-sewerage/twocol.aspx?id=8052) and will be featuring the dry weather and the need to use water wisely, in a customer magazine that will be sent to all our customers during May.

I hope this is helpful.

Yours sincerely

Eve Atkins
Customer Relations


Spider
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Koz
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for trying Phil Wink - As you can see from the reply there is plenty of jargon waiting ready to be spat back at us, a lot of it is spin I assure you... . Its already been widely publicised that they are abstracting too much water from the Wylye but the measures that have ' apparently' been taken are a slow train coming. Its likely to be six years before we seen any change in flow rates on the river, if at all. WXW's ' grid project' is essentially just a means of moving water from one place to another so although it sounds like a good plan it doesn't really come under the sustainability banner. They should be investing in infrastructure in Bath and Yeovil areas where there is available water and not nicking it from the chalk streams in the name of profit. WFA, S&TA, WCSRT have managed to get some real momentum going on this now and the wheels are turning... watch this space...

Wessex Water are exporting chalk stream water from the Wylye to Bath and Yeovil and the profits to Malaysia...

They are also pumping water from the aquifer ( source) to augment flows further down.... Why? Because if they get enough flow through the right gauge it means they can still keep pumping water from the aquifer....If that's not the most absurd thing I've have ever heard then I don't know what is...?

Thanks very much to anybody else that wrote to them Cool
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Koz wrote:

They are also pumping water from the aquifer ( source) to augment flows further down.... Why? Because if they get enough flow through the right gauge it means they can still keep pumping water from the aquifer....If that's not the most absurd thing I've have ever heard then I don't know what is...?


That isn't just absurd ... it's tantamount to criminal deception! Shock

I hope the WFA, S&TA, WCSRT will be taking them to task over this! Mad

Alan Mad
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