Following the driest winter period in
Rivers with low flows, especially in the warmer summer months, tend to have naturally lower levels of dissolved oxygen. The problem for aquatic life comes when the addition of effluent from sewage works, food processing, farms or industrial premises causes yet further reductions in oxygen levels.
This leads to the death of fish and invertebrates. The effects can be catastrophic for a wide range of wildlife with some rivers taking many years to recover.
“Those who handle or discharge pollutants of whatever type in drought conditions must realise that the impact on wildlife is likely to be much greater than in high flows and colder weather. We are asking everyone to be particularly careful this summer” said Mark Lloyd, Executive Director at the ACA.
The advice from the ACA on the low flow conditions also comes with a sharp warning:
“Polluters are put on notice that the ACA will pursue vigorously any fish kills that occur this summer. In these low flow conditions, licensed dischargers of effluent to our rivers must take care not to harm aquatic life. If they damage fisheries, they can expect to find themselves in court facing the ACA.” said Guy Linley-Adams, ACA Solicitor.
At any one time the ACA has 50-60 legal cases ongoing against polluters the length and breadth of the
In addition, the ACA has asked all those abstracting water from rivers and lakes to stick to their licence limits and to only abstract the bare minimum necessary. Fish cannot thrive in very low flow situations, with or without pollution.
“We all have to stop wasting water and realise that, particularly in the more populated regions of the
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