a community organisation
established to restore the flow to the River Ivel,
a globally important chalk stream
that rises at Ivel Springs,
near Baldock, Hertfordshire
Fishing for Trout at Norton Fisheries near Baldock, Henry Bullard 1906
Reproduced with permission © Baldock Museum
Your River Needs You!
The Ivel is one of only 225 chalk streams worldwide, 80% of which are in England. Ivel Springs, the source of the Ivel, are fed entirely by water from the aquifer underground.
The river was dry from its source in Baldock to Radwell between May 2018 to December 2019. Despite the heavy rains of early 2020, the river was dry again by July. There is no evidence that this is due to climate change and low rainfall. The river flow rate over the last few years has been dramatically reduced by over abstraction by the water company, Affinity Water who take between 10,000 and 14,000 tons of water every day from the boreholes immediately above Ivel Springs. The river valley dries, water levels drop, the river ceases to flow and wildlife dies.
Currently the Ivel is the only northwards running chalk river in Hertfordshire which does not have augmentation. This could be achieved on the same model as has existed at Ashwell Springs since 1971: water is pumped into Ashwell Springs when natural spring output drops below a trigger point. To achieve this for the upper Ivel;
- Flow must be constantly measured at a gauging station
- If flow falls below a certain threshold, Affinity Water must be required to augment the flow.
- All water added to keep the Ivel flowing, must count against Affinity Water’s abstraction licence.
was formed in October 2019
- To monitor and raise awareness of the state of the upper River Ivel from its source at Baldock to its confluence with the River Hiz at Henlow.
- To secure a minimum flow in the river of 57.8 litres per second at Blackhorse Farm and 162 litres per second below Radwell Mill.
- To secure a water quality in the entire upper Ivel adequate to support a permanent population of brown trout, for which the upper Ivel was once famous. A habitat capable of supporting healthy trout will support a lot more wildlife, including invertebrates, birds and mammals.
Working locally and with other chalkstream groups further afield, we are raising awareness of the issues facing our precious chalk streams, with the upper River Ivel as our focus.
Our monitoring and recording programme for the river includes flow measurement at strategic points and will develop a greater understanding of the damage the river is suffering.
Through mainstream local and social media, RevIvel keeps the damage to the Upper River Ivel front and centre in the local and wider community through regular news stories and lobbying.
RevIvel is a community organisation supporting the River Ivel, a perennial chalk stream in North Hertfordshire.
RevIvel is part of the Chalk Aquifer Alliance that brings together river groups fighting for chalk streams across England.