Cam Valley Forum - River Cam Manifesto
16 Aug 2019 - 15:45
1. The River Cam does not have enough water flow to function properly. We have caused
this to be the case. It is not just ‘the weather’
2. Cambridgeshire is a naturally low rainfall area, but this is not the only reason for poor
river flows. Our rainfall is very variable.
3. Over abstraction of water from the ground is the main reason. We pump too much
water out of the chalk for our domestic supplies and, to a smaller extent, for
agriculture. Water abstraction should not be viewed as a ‘right’ but only as a privilege.
4. The Chalk hills near Cambridge are where the water comes from. Chalk streams are
very special (we have 85% of the worlds total) and we will lose them in England if we
are not careful.
5. The Environment Agency already pumps extra water from the Chalk to support stream
flows. This help is not enough and is only done because we have taken too much.
6. Most would agree that we should aim for sustainable development where we do not
cause harm to our environment or compromise the needs of future generations.
7. Low river flows are added to by insufficiently treated water from sewage works. This
is why the upper Cam is largely classed as of ‘poor’ water quality. Our wild plants and
animals have an entitlement to the quality water our environment can provide.
8. A river, such as ours, can be better managed to be more resilient. This will help ease
the problems of climate change, and both the occasional flooding and drought.
9. Saving water will help the river Cam. Here there is much we can all do.
10. Helping the river requires us to reassess our values. Our rivers could be cleaner
healthier and something to be really proud of. We need to take action now.