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  • by Karma Loveday

Water Resources East and HR Wallingford to assess cost benefit of chalk stream interventions

Consultancy, HR Wallingford, has teamed up with Water Resources East to study three of its catchments to assess how various interventions could help protect England’s precious chalk streams.


The pilot studies will seek to identify the optimal way to improve the flow and protect the ecology of chalk rivers and catchments. As the three pilot catchments – Lark, Stiffkey and Granta – supply a large amount of water to the public, agriculture and energy sector, the project is also looking at alternatives to reducing abstraction, which is already capped, in the attempt to make it sustainable and improve catchment resilience.


HR Wallingford will focus on better stewardship of land (for instance via the use of farm reservoirs or river restoration), and nature-based solutions (such as planting specific types of trees). By measuring the costs and benefits of these alternatives, the team plans to create a tool to support water companies, resource planners and landowners to make scientifically informed decisions on interventions.


The results could be used to provide evidence for government funding decisions, including Environmental Land Management Schemes and Biodiversity Net Gain payments.

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