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  • by Karma Loveday

Welsh Water publishes phosphorus plan for protected rivers

Welsh Water has published plans for a £100m phosphorus reduction programme for Special Area of Conservation (SAC) rivers.

Improvement measures will be rolled out through 2025-30 and into the early part of 2030-35 at sites along the Teifi and Cleddau in west Wales, the Wye and Usk in south Wales and the Dee in north Wales, as well as their tributaries.

The plans were released as independently verified reports identifying the sources of phosphorus levels in the in SAC rivers were also published. The evidence has enabled Welsh Water to identify where investment or modifications to its processes are required. It has also showed the proportion of phosphorus attributed to water industry operations from storm overflows and wastewater treatment works is often dwarfed by phosphorus emanating from rural land use (see table).

Welsh Water’s managing director for wastewater services, Steve Wilson, said: “We have already invested millions of pounds in improving river water quality and our long terms plans will require a similar level of investment. And while we can play our part and reduce our contribution to phosphorus, it is crucial for everyone that cares about our rivers – including farmers, Government, regulators and individual households – to work together to achieve the long term goal of securing rivers we can all be truly proud of.”

Alongside the phosphorus programme, Welsh Water also published guidance for developers and local authorities to begin collaboration on nutrient offsetting wetlands built at the back end of wastewater treatment works. This followed the successful creation of an offsetting wetlands at Luston in Herefordshire. The new guidance is intended to help to roll out this nature-based approach to all SAC rivers in Welsh Water’s operating area.

WwTW = Waste water treatment works

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