Anglian Water is investing £7 million (more than €8 million) in 16 river restoration schemes across the region, that will improve drought resilience and restore rivers to their natural shape.
The schemes make up part of the water company’s wider Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP) and will help to improve the environment by returning sections of the river to a more natural state.
Anglian Water’s River Restoration Scheme is doing the all-important work of ‘re-wiggling’ the rivers to restore their natural shape and improve the flow of water. This can be done by using gravel and large woody debris to recreate the natural state of the river. Over time these features will embed into the riverbank, creating more energy through the channel alongside other features like riffles and pool sequences.
This work will help make the rivers more resilient during dry conditions and mean the water company can still take water for customer’s supply, while enhancing and protecting the environment at the same time.
This work is being carried across six catchment areas, benefitting a total of 16 rivers across the region. Across East Anglia, work will take place in rivers across Suffolk, Norfolk, Buckinghamshire and Lincolnshire. In Suffolk, work will be carried in the Lark catchment at points in Tuddenham, Cavenham, Linnet, Lee Brook and Kennet Lee Brook. In Norfolk, work will be carried out along Heacham River and Gaywood River in North West Norfolk. Old Carr, Gadder and Stringside Stream in Wissey, as well as Sapiston River and Stowlangtoft River in Little Ouze and Thet. In Buckinghamshire, work will be carried out along the Broughton Brook in Milton Keynes. In Lincolnshire, work will be carried out along the East and West Glen Rivers. And along the border of Worcestershire, work will be carried out on the The Gwash in Welland Upper.
John Bolton, WINEP Project Manager said: “Environmental prosperity is at the heart of everything we do. We’re always looking for new and innovative ways to support nature and protect the environment, particularly as the impacts of climate change and a growing population are adding increasing pressures on our precious water resources.
"Between 2020-2025, we will reduce the amount of water we take from the environment by 84 million litres a day - more than any other water company, but it’s as important that we help our region’s rivers to be as natural as possible, to encourage the flora and fauna to flourish.
“Improving river health across our region is important not only to our customers but also to us. As part of our Get River Positive Commitments, we’ve promised that our activity will not by the reason for unhealthy rivers, the work being carried out across these schemes are just some examples of how we’re helping our region’s watercourses and wildlife thrive.”
Protecting and improving the environment is a fundamental part of the water company’s purpose. This year, Anglian Water is investing more than £156 m (€182 million) to protect and enhance the environment and as part of its Get River Positive programme the water company has promised to enhance its rivers and create new habitats so wildlife can thrive.
Protecting and restoring rivers to their natural state forms a fundamental part of the programme. Alongside physical work being carried out to restore rivers to their natural state, Anglian Water is working with local river groups to improve river water quality across the region through a rigorous water quality monitoring programme.
All projects are currently at various stages of design and delivery, with schemes beginning construction towards the end of this year. Anglian Water is expecting all schemes to be completed and delivered by December 2024.