Plans to protect and improve Wales’ water environment over the next six years have been published.
The proposals, known as River Basin Management Plans, have been pulled together by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
They outline the steps that need to be taken in the next six years to makes Wales’ rivers, streams and lakes better places for wildlife and people.
The plans also consider Wales’ waterbodies as part of the wider environment and actions proposed in the plan will improve the resilience of ecosystems and deliver multiple benefits - for example improving land management in the uplands can have significant benefits in climate change resilience, carbon capture, flood storage and improved downstream water quality.
This is exactly what the Welsh Government wanted NRW to do as it passed the Environment Bill.
Rhian Thomas, NRW Water Framework Directive Team Leader, said: “We all depend on our water for drinking, for agriculture or business, for recreation or to attract tourists.
“These plans aim to provide clean, healthy and improving water quality, reducing pollution and supporting more river life.”
The plans say the main challenges to improving water quality are reducing the effects of sewage effluent, preventing pollution from industrial estates, dealing with metal mine water, advising on good land management and addressing major pressures on the water environment including over-abstraction of water.
Ceri Davies, NRW’s Executive Director added: “We’ve made a lot of progress during the last six years, but there’s much more still to do.
“And we can’t do it alone. Working with others is key to securing the improvements we want to see.
“We will continue to work with the Liaison Panels, partners from the public, private and voluntary sectors such as the Rivers Trusts, Farming Groups, Local Authorities, Port groups, Business and Industry and Fisheries Groups to deliver even better water quality in Wales.”
There are three river basin districts in Wales - Western Wales, Dee and Severn districts, and each one has its own updated River Basin Management Plans. They can be seen here: https://naturalresources.wales/water/quality/?lang=en