A wide range of issues affect our watercourse. The Catchment Partnership aims to work together to address these issues and improve the condition of our lakes, rivers and estuaries.

The Environment Agency and partners have undertaken an assessment of the water courses in North West and identified the following key issues that need to be addressed (they are not in order of priority). 

Click below to find out more about the issues and how we can tackle them…

  • Physical modifications  – changes to the natural habitat by people, for example poorly designed or redundant flood defences and weirs, and changes to the natural river channels for land drainage and navigation. These modifications can cause changes to natural flow levels, excessive build-up of sediment, and the loss of the habitat that wildlife needs to thrive.
  • Pollution from waste water   – waste water can contain large amounts of nutrients (such as phosphorus and nitrates), ammonia and other damaging substances, including bacteria and viruses.
  • Pollution from rural areas   – the effects of poor rural land management and agriculture on the water environment (also known as ‘diffuse rural pollution’).
  • Pollution from towns, cities and transport  – rain water running over hard surfaces and carrying pollutants into waters, chemicals from contaminated land, and sewage from houses ‘mis-connected’ to surface water drains rather than sewers.
  • Changes to the natural flow and level of water  – taking too much water from rivers, canals, lakes and underground sources means that there is not enough water flowing.
  • Pollution from mines  – contaminated water draining from mines, most of which are now abandoned.
  • Invasive non-native species  – the effect on the health of the natural environment of plants and animals from outside the UK introduced to UK waters.


What do you think? 

West Cumbria Rivers Trust, on behalf of the Catchment Partnership, asked local people their views by on online survey that everyone living in the catchment was encouraged to complete. Of 137 responses:

  • Everyone used the river for walking, running, cycling, fishing, canoeing, boating, swimming, watching wildlife, relaxing or playing.
  • 89 people thought there were issues affecting the health of local rivers and lakes, only 8 people didn’t.
  • Pollution from land management, industry and wastewater, along with invasive non-native species were considered to be the biggest threats.

  • Specific problems that were identified included: 
  1. Dog poo and litter; 
  2. Blue-green algae; 
  3. Poor access for walkers, canoeists, fishermen, swimmers and disabled people; 
  4. Declines in salmon/trout numbers; 
  5. Bank erosion; 
  6. Flooding; 
  7. Invasive species; 
  8. Poor habitat quality; 
  9. Lack of respect by some people for the environment and for other river users; 
  10. Noise; 
  11. Difficulty parking; 
  12. Pollution, particularly sewage.

But its not all bad! There were lots of things people valued about our rivers and lakes:


What’s going on in your area? 

To find out, visit What’s Your Back Yard.