The health of our rivers is coming under increasing threat from a degrading of water quality by pollution.
Only 14% of UK rivers are considered to be in good health as reported by the Environment Agency. This reflects a long term trend of the health of river systems deteriorating across the country. Our rivers are vunerable to pollution from fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, running of fields as part of modern agricultural practices. Also, to make matters worse the UK government now permits raw or partially treated sewage to enter our rivers if the Water Companies feel it is necessary.
If permitting of dumping raw sewage was not enough, the Environment Agency is unable to investigate most pollution incidents due a shortage of funding. This creates a situation were the water quality of our rivers can cause harm to our wildlife and local environment.
To help ensure the health of the River Itchen, the parish wildlife warden (with assistance) is undertaking a regular programme of water quality testing at various locations across the parish. This testing will help to build up a picture of the health of the river, and inform any future decision making.
Itchen RiverWatch should provide an important tool to help combat future deterioration of water quality and bring about positive change to one of the most important wildlife habitats within the parish.
Results for September 2021 to September 2023.
The two tables below show the results of two years of monthly testing of the river water for Ammonia, Nitrate and Phosphate. It is clear as the colour coding shows that the water quality is of a low standard. Much of the chemical pollution comes from both agricultural activities and sewage treatment outfalls. Though exact location of sources cannot be determined/proven.
The presence of ammonia and phosphate in the water is deterimental to the biodiversity of the river, harming aquatic life and reducing the availability of food for insects, fish, birds and mammals. Though there is life in the river, the pollution reduces the amount of wildlife that should be present.