Singer Feargal Sharkey campaigns to protect England’s waterways

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This is fergal shock he’s a one-time rock star with the norden irish band the undertones but he’s also deeply concerned about the state of england’s water resources he’s borders here to hartfordshire near london to look at some of the rivers or perhaps it’s better to say to look for some rivers after one of the driest summers in decades water levels have been

Dropping and some water courses have dried up entirely especially in the fast-growing southeast fergal a keen local angler thinks it’s all the result of corner cutting and poor regulation our first stop is the river verne near sant albans the river bear is one of a very long list of rivers and the south and southeast of england that have been massively environmentally

Impacted upon by the activities of the water industry simple answer is when you turn your tap on this is what it does to our local rivers and what regulation has allowed to happen demand for water is growing in the southeast because of population growth the local water companies don’t have the storage facilities to deal with the extra demand so according to fergal

They just take more and more out of the local rivers by drilling bore holes we are currently about 8 9 miles downstream from the source of the river pain there should be between us and upstream 9 miles of water there isn’t because little by little the reservoir the aquifer storage underneath the ground has been reduced and reduced and reduced that there is simply

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No no river left the last big reservoir to be built in england was at kielder in northumberland in 1989 the year the industry was privatized since then sucking more water out of the ground has been the cheap and easy answer if it was at any point in history that you would think as mankind we would be grown up adult enough and sense of and often have enough of

An empathy worth the our surroundings it would have been within the last three decades but it’s exactly the point in time that we turned our backs on these rivers fergal sees a direct link between the borehole in this building and falling water levels in the river with a growing population radical measures are needed and we’re all gonna have to get used to the

Fight the waters are going to become more expensive we’re probably all gonna have to have meters fitted recording exactly how when and where we’re using water and we’re all gonna have to get used to use an awful lot less of it or in reality using it in a more efficient effective way the water companies agree there’s a problem but claim they are trying to manage

It thames water which supplies most of london says it’s planning to meet future pressures by building a new reservoir which would relieve pressure on the chalk streams meanwhile the environment agency doesn’t accept fur goals analysis that it’s asleep at the stopcock they say the changes we have made to abstraction licences over the past 10 years are saving more

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Than 30 billion litres of water per year and helping to protect some of our most important wildlife habitats there’s plenty of scope for improvement though 30 billion litres is just not 0.3 percent of the water abstracted last year not only have the water companies failed our rivers but our regulators have equally failed those rivers but all is not lost it can be

Reclaimed it just needs everybody to show some determination some vision some leadership there are a few more verdant places than england’s riverbanks but without some fundamental action their future could be bleak

Transcribed from video
Singer Feargal Sharkey campaigns to protect England's waterways By Financial Times

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