Worry over Kennet water extraction

Published: Thursday, 24 March 2011

THERE is the real possibility that the Kennet—the eastern end of the Kennet & Avon Canal—could become unnavigable in dry weather if Thames Water gets its way.

It is not only boaters that are worried, but the campaign group Action for the River Kennet are very concerned that the water levels will lower considerably, especially in a period without rainfall, Alan Tilbury tells us.

639 million litres

Thames water already pumps water from the Kennet, but wants to increase this by 639 million litres a year, with the action group stating that wildlife will suffer as well as the  river's navigational  use. The picture shows County Lock on the Kennet.

Opposition to the plans by Thames Water is growing, with pressure now being put on the Environmental Agency to refuse permission to extract so much water from the river.


The amount has been likened to the equivalent of an extra 21 Olympic sized swimming pools every month, and is in addition to the 3,410 million litres Thames Water already abstracts, with Charlotte Hitchmough, Director of Action for the River Kennet complaining:

"Every drop of water taken out of the borehole leaves less for the wildlife that lives in the river and along the river banks. We are draining our river dry because it's a cheap source of water."