Iconic chalk stream faces new abstraction threat

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Just a year after Southern Water were forced to temper their water abstraction ambitions on the lower River Test and commit to major long-term infrastructure investments instead, they have now applied for a drought permit to allow increased abstraction this summer, justified by an alleged ‘exceptional shortage of rain’.
Thanks to the agreement secured at last year’s public inquiry, however, the interim permit (if granted) will not allow abstraction below the Test’s new ‘hands off flow’ limit unless and until a ‘bulk supply’ of replacement water is brought in from neighbouring Portsmouth Water, and a public hosepipe ban has also been introduced.

At a hearing held on 6 August 2019, Fish Legal and members Little River Management argued for much better monitoring and mitigation measures, to protect the lower Test’s fragile salmon and sea trout stocks, where progress under the 2018 agreement has been very limited.

The hearing Inspector report agrees that these key protections now need to be accelerated which will help ensure there is no further slippage in relation to Southern Water’s 10-year ‘interim’ duties under the inquiry agreement.
 

Pompous git

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Daft as it may sound I remember in a John Wilson book how water at the estuary end of a river could be pumped back to the head
waters on a large scale to try and negate the effects of abstraction. If humans can put a man on the moon then surely they can find
a way to stop our rivers being ruined, sadly no one seems to care.
 

MarkW

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The trouble is that by the time you get to the sea the water quality is far below that emerging from the springs at the head of the river. On the Dorset Stour the river is 50% treated sewage at summer flows by the time it gets to Christchurch.

Back in 1990 I can remember fishing the Witham practising for the Div 1 National and it seemed odd that it had a reason flow and tinge of colur despite the heat and drought; the reason was Trent water pumped in via the Fossdyke to give enough water for the potato farmers to pump it out of the Witham. The fish loved it though!
 

Pompous git

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I believe you live in Wareham, never fished there but had a few long weekends and have walked over the bridge from the station several
times. Like the look of the river, must be heaven to just grab a fly rod and don some waders.
 

Silverfisher

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Had planned a coarse and sea combo weekend with my little boat base in wareham this summer but time and weather never aligned quite right, try again next year I guess.
 

MarkW

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I believe you live in Wareham, never fished there but had a few long weekends and have walked over the bridge from the station several
times. Like the look of the river, must be heaven to just grab a fly rod and don some waders.
I grew up in Wareham (some say I never grew up...) but moved to what is effectively a suburb of Poole about 8 miles away in the late 80s as I got fed up with forever trying to leave the place along a very congested road. From what you said the river you crossed was the Piddle as opposed to the much bigger Frome. Neither river a patch on what they once were although a few decent fish left in both but access to the Piddle (and the Frome for that matter) much more restricted than it once was. The Piddle did have phenomenal dace fishing down on the tidal but that was over 30 (the best of it was the mid 70s) years ago. The last two seasons I've only had the odd short session on the Frome but very little to show for it, just a handful of decent dace.
 

Silverfisher

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Think dorset is the only county I’d leave Oxfordshire for from the fishing point of view given you have the frome, Stour, Avon and the sea and you are still not too isolated from the rest of the country. Lived in Bournemouth for a year when I did my masters and really enjoyed it and still go back regularly to see mates.
 
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