The Environment Agency has published the first ever policy for managing water in rivers and streams in West Dorset.

The newly published Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS) for the West Dorset area is now available and sets out the policy for managing water resources on the Rivers Char, Brit, Asker, Bride and Wey over the next six years.

The CAMS document outlines how the Environment Agency will deal with new applications for surface and groundwater abstraction licences.

The strategy has been compiled by the Environment Agency and a group of stakeholders including those representing local anglers, farmers, tourism, Wessex Water and the Dorset Wildlife Trust.

‘It is the first time such as assessment has been done in the West Dorset area and is a major step forward in managing water resources.  It clearly sets out our plan for managing the catchment over the next six years and how we will address abstraction pressure,’ said Andy Gardiner for the Environment Agency.

‘Over the past two years we have consulted widely on how best to manage our water resources to meet the needs of abstractors, the environment and other water users. We have received many valuable comments that have helped to shape our final strategy and we would like to thank all those who have participated in the CAMS process.’

The CAMS looks at the geology of the area, how much water is taken for various uses including industrial, agricultural and private, conservation issues surrounding animal and plant life, water quality and fishing. 

The publication of the final strategy document follows a formal three month consultation period in the summer of 2006.

With demands on river water and groundwater increasing, the Environment Agency is taking a lead in looking at the way we use water and how it affects the natural environment.

Three of the five Water Resource Management Units identified in the West Dorset Streams catchment have some ‘water available’ for further abstraction at low flows, one has ‘no water available’ at low flows and the River Wey is classified as ‘over-abstracted’ at low and medium flows.

The CAMS document is now available at  Copies are also available from Frances Walker, Environment Agency, Rivers House, Sunrise Business Park, Higher Shaftesbury Road, Blandford Forum, Dorset, DT11 8ST.  Tel: 01258
483417 or email