Over 200 people attended the première of our film ‘Restoring the Upper Ivel’ on 7th January 2023, which was screened in the drama studio at Knights Templar School, Baldock in an overwhelming show of community and cross-party political support.
The film highlights the plight of our river the Upper Ivel which rises from springs in Baldock, one of only 225 chalk streams in the world.
The short film tells the story of our river from its heyday, when flow was sufficient to support mills, trout fisheries and a thriving watercress industry, through to the current plight of the river. The springs and upper reaches of the river are now dry for long periods, largely due to the high quantities of water abstracted (pumped) by the water company (Affinity Water) from the underground aquifer which feeds the springs.
Thanks to members, supporters, and donors in the Spring of last year with the ‘Save our Stream’ appeal we were able to commission a report from industry expert, John Lawson, which notes the Upper Ivel as amongst the most over abstracted chalk streams in the country.
With John’s advice, the film explains how Affinity Water and Anglian Water have agreed to explore the proposed solution to restore flow to the river. The aim / hope is that by 2030, the volume of water taken from the aquifer would be substantially reduced to sustainable levels so the springs and river may thrive again. A circular, low-cost solution is being proposed using largely existing pipelines and facilities. What’s more, this solution may be a pilot project for saving chalk streams nationally. Feasibility studies will start in 2023.
Affinity Water already has plans to reduce abstraction by 228,000,000 litres per annum which sounds impressive but translates only to a reduction of 625,000 litres per day. To put this into context, RevIvel’s request is for a reduction in abstraction of 10,600,000 million litres per day in order to enable the aquifer, and therefore the river, to recover.
RevIvel event organisers, Kathryn Mackenzie and Chris Hobbs, would like to extend enormous thanks to all who attended for their tremendous support to restore the river.
RevIvel have created a YouTube channel and here is the link to the film: https://www.youtube.com/
Or click on the link below ….It’s just over 11 minutes long and well worth viewing.
Some wonderful feedback and comments were received that include ….
Heather Bhasin, Baldock resident said ….“Wow! I was both very impressed and very shocked by the film. I knew things were bad, and that the springs were drying up, but I had no idea quite how bad. But I think more of a shock was discovering quite how straightforward the solution may well be. I had been wondering why any water company would consider trying to alleviate the situation. But now that I know that practically everything is already in place, I’m wondering… why on earth would they not?”
David, local resident said ….“I meant to say how well the video was made and how clearly the case for practical reform was conveyed to non-experts”
Comments on Facebook include
Cllr Alistair Willoughby said….It was absolutely fantastic to go along and watch the premiere of the Revivel Film.
The incredible work of all of the volunteers on their campaign has led to this next stage, and it is now incumbent on all of us to continue working to a solution that benefits the ecology of our beautiful natural environment!
Jane Havercroft said …..A really interesting film and wonderful to see so much support from the community
Becky Briant said…..Do check out the film. It’s a really interesting insight into what we need to do to help wildlife locally
Andrew Northcott said ….This was really impressive
Cllr. Tamsin Thomas, Letchworth East said ….Fantastic session today with the RevIvel Association on how we can reverse the damage to the River Ivel by over-abstraction by privatised water companies.
My list of takeaways to be explored in more detail:
The River Ivel is near dead but it can be brought back for future generations. While many parts of the upstream river are dried up, downstream parts are still thriving thanks to tributary rivers. Overtime, the biodiversity will return…once the water starts to flow again. It is not too late but action must be taken.
The near death of the Ivel is a direct consequence of over-abstraction (taking too much water) when other choices are available. The challenge being that chalk does such a good job of naturally cleaning water, abstraction costs reduce by almost half.
Workable solutions do exist thanks to earlier investment in water infrastructure that is not being taken advantage of.
The vast majority of chalk stream rivers in the world are in the UK. We have a unique obligation to protect this natural heritage.
The cost of bringing the Ivel back would be ~£7 per year per household
Affinity Water and Anglian Water are at the table thinking about how they can do better. This is thanks to the activism of Hertfordshire residents.
The work of RevIvel volunteers is incredibly impressive and the event today was massively oversubscribed with people queuing out the building. People really do care about the natural environment and rightly expect water companies to steward Britain’s water resources responsibly.
We really do hope you enjoy watching the film and it would be great if you could share the link with family and friends to help spread the message.