Affinity Water commits to reducing Ver, Mimram and Upper Lea abstraction by 2024

PUBLISHED: 07:57 08 October 2020

Affinity Water recently met chalk stream groups on the River Chess. Picture: FILM INFINITY

Affinity Water recently met chalk stream groups on the River Chess. Picture: FILM INFINITY

FILM INFINITY

A water company operating in Hertfordshire has committed to reducing its abstraction of chalk streams in the county.

Affinity Water recently met chalk stream groups on the River Chess. Picture: FILM INFINITYAffinity Water recently met chalk stream groups on the River Chess. Picture: FILM INFINITY

Across its supply area, Affinity will be significantly reducing groundwater abstraction in the Ver, Mimram, Upper Lea and Misbourne catchments by 2024 to leave more water in the environment.

Jake Rigg, director of corporate affairs at Affinity Water said, after a visit to Chilterns chalk streams: “Our plan sets out how we will work with our partners to reduce the amount of water we take from chalk streams, invest in these critical natural habitats and bring our communities together to help us in this task.

“Sixty-five per cent of the public drinking water supplied in the south-east of England comes from the chalk aquifer, the same aquifer that chalk streams rely on for their flow. But chalk aquifers have been put under increased pressure by an ever-growing population, abstraction and other issues such as climate change.

“We are not making promises that we cannot deliver on – we are putting in place a plan that will restore the chalk streams and deliver high quality water to the ever-growing population in the south east of England at an affordable price as we live through a climate emergency.”

READ MORE: Hertfordshire MPs lead charge to protect our chalk streams with new parliamentary group

Sam Lumb, area director for the Environment Agency, said: “Our chalk streams are precious and we are committed to protecting them. Population growth, particularly in the south east, means that more water is needed at a time when climate change is causing the amount of water that is available to decline. While we have to take water from the environment, we must ensure that abstraction is sustainable.”

However, water and sewerage companies operating in Hertfordshire, such as Anglian, have come under fire from the EA and were rated in a new report as ‘requires improvement’ and ‘good’ respectively.

Anglian’s lower rating is due to the serious incidents of water pollution – 1.6 per 100,000 square miles compared to Thames’ 1.4 – and general better reporting rate.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Water companies have a responsibility to act as custodians of the environment and this report for 2019 shows that some are failing to take their obligations seriously. That is not good enough.”

The full report is available here gov.uk/government/publications/water-and-sewerage-companies-in-england-environmental-performance-report-2019.


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