About the Chalk Aquifer Alliance

Chalk streams can be found across the East and South East of England, from Dorset, to Wiltshire and Hampshire in the south, through the Chilterns and into Lincolnshire and Yorkshire in the north.

We have 85% of the world’s chalk streams in England. These unique freshwater ecosystems are at risk from pollution and over-abstraction that are causing significant damage to this precious
habitat.

Many of the chalk streams in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, and south-east England do not even have enough water flow to function properly. Over-abstraction from the groundwater is the main reason. Too much water is pumped out of the chalk for our domestic supplies and in some areas for agriculture to the detriment of the health of the rivers.

Numerous river groups are collaborating to bring about a change as they feel that the Chalk aquifer systems are being over exploited in favour of public water supply.

We support

The restoration and protection of water quality and flows in our chalk streams and the reduction of abstraction to sustainable levels

What we will do

  • Raise awareness of the plight of all chalk streams
  • Share knowledge and understanding across river groups
  • Campaign to end unsustainable abstraction
  • Work to establish ecological target flows for chalk streams and hands-off flow conditions
  • Fight to end sewage releases into chalk streams
  • Encourage habitat restoration and optimum biodiversity
  • Celebrate the benefits to mental health, happiness and general wellbeing a healthy chalk stream can bring

What we will explore

  • Lobbying for ALL chalk streams to have bespoke statutory designation including enhanced protection
  • Stronger controls on damaging agricultural practices that affect chalk streams
  • Publicising the targets of the Water Framework Directive/Environment Bill and pursuing those tasked to make it happen
  • Preventing road run off and its load of sediment containing hydrocarbons, heavy metals, street litter and microplastics running into chalk streams
  • Raise awareness of insufficiently treated water from sewage works damaging chalk streams especially at times of low flow
  • Planning process changes to ensure that new developments will only be permitted where a sustainable water supply is assured
  • Pressing for more flexibility in supply network to move water from areas of higher rainfall to those with less – towards a national grid of water
  • To have minimum flows applied to all headwaters, specifically spring fed rivers
  • Whether the Chalk aquifer is a single entity and should be managed as such
  • Encouraging Government to get fully behind sustained consumer water saving campaigns
  • Inspiring consumers to embrace water saving for the benefit of the environment
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