3Rivers Project

Reducing diffuse pollution in the Tavy Cluster

The 3Rivers project is focussing on reducing diffuse sources of pollution that are contributing to failures in Water Framework Directive (WFD) status. The Rivers Tavy, Lumburn & Walkham form part of the Tamar system and are typical of the South West, being primarily rural with few large urban centres and numerous small communities.

The Three Rivers waterbodies consist of primarily agricultural land, reaching into upland areas where multiple diffuse sources of pollution – particularly Phosphate enrichment are contributing to failures as reflected in WFD status. These may originate from farming practices on land, yards or rural properties, but may also be attached to soil particles, which have become eroded and mobilised. In addition, small rural communities are experiencing growth and old drainage infrastructure may not be able to accommodate these pressures, resulting in domestic diffuse sources from treatment works and individual septic tanks. This enrichment and / or sedimentation in watercourses leads to smothering of substrates, increased algal growth, poor levels of flora and fauna (including fish), and reduced oxygen levels. It also affects associated and connected habitats, such as the robustness and function of estuarine areas further downstream.

Diffuse input from both animal and human sources increases the risk of bacterial loadings; a health and welfare issue for the public – especially in an area heavily targeted by recreational users, and can cause contamination in fish / shellfish (besides increased costs to the Water Industry and ultimately the public, to cope with ensuring drinking water standards are maintained).

If you Farm in these areas you might also be affecting the quality of the rivers. We can help you reduce any impacts with free impartial advice on all aspects of agricultural practice including, cross compliance and management for improved water quality.

Trees and woodlands have an important role in managing water quality and flow. Grant aid is available through the Forestry Commission & The Woodland Trust for the establishment of woodlands.

If you live in or have a business in this area and have non-mains drainage, you may be unintentionally affecting the quality of these rivers. We can help you maintain these systems to ensure they are not affecting the environment.

Misconnected drainage, such as sinks or washing machines plumbed to surface water pipes can also have impacts. We can help advise on these areas as well. For further information please contact the Westcountry Rivers Trust via email: [email protected] or by phone: 01579 372140