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 Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement

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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement   Wed May 02, 2012 11:50 pm

TAC Forum only

Since we have thankfully had all this rain I wanted to give you all an insight into recent meetings with Thames water.

First thing to say is the TAC has come a long way in being the Angling representatives for the Thames, a very long way.

There has been two meetings with Thames about abstraction on the Lower Thames in recent weeks. Abstraction for drinking water takes place from inlets at Datchet, Laleham, Sunbury, Walton and at times of drought Surbiton.

The second meeting I will come onto when the minutes are published as is a longer review of the LTOA by the EA and the consultation that surrounds it.

First though was called at short notice in response to the drought and probably unlike anything before was asking our, the TAC's, opinion on it. We took a little while to reply as it set out below. As I said it was tough as concerns the future of our river, our Thames.


Anyway here it is:



Thank you for inviting us to the meeting on the 17th April, asking for comment on the proposed drought measure for the Thames. We have considered the information provided and and our response is below:

Background
Thames Water have proposed to have the option to reduce the mean flow over Teddington Weir to 300 MLD in the event of lower than average rainfall during the spring months to aid the resupply of the storage areas.

The lowering of the flow will be due to increased abstraction from the main Thames intakes.

Thames Water are intending to apply for a drought permit which will take an estimated 10 weeks, assuming it gets approval following the statutory consultation period. (The TAC would like to ensure that it is notified of the consultation).

The drought permit will allow Thames Water to, if required for drinking water needs, reduce the flow over Teddington Weir to 100 MLD and down to 0 MLD.

The proposed option to reduce to 300 MLD is a possible measure to delay the full drought permit measures further reducing the flow.

The TAC is in agreement with this measure but has serious environmental concerns about the timing. The period between April and June is a key spawning and migration time so may have an effect of the fish population and this year’s fry and fish movement. The proposed early reduction in flow will cause the salinated limit on the Tidal Thames to move further upstream so affecting the spawning grounds of species such as Bream and Dace. In addition the protected and highly significant Smelt spawning may move further upstream as do so on around the salinated limit, the consequence of this is unkown.

Any sewage pollution or other pollution into the tideway and non-tidal Thames will have a far greater effect with the reduced flow over Teddington.

The TAC comments regarding the approach that must be taken is not only for Thames Water but the Environment Agency, which will be communicated separately.

  • In the event of a damaging sewage overflow into the Tideway, Thames Water agrees to increase the flow over Teddington weir with immediate effect to dilute pollution.

    If a reach becomes so depleted that fish and other aquatic species are in danger, Thames Water agrees to reduce abstraction immediately.

    The the option to reduce flow can only be used after all other means have been exhausted and not as a normal operation and Thames Water to react in a fluid manner to drops in consumer and business demand and weather conditions.

    Thames Water and The Environment Agency to increase water quality monitoring on all reaches and make this data available on request

    This option to reduce flow should only be temporary and and reviewed on an ongoing and urgent basis


We are happy to expand further on any of the above and look forward to the future consultationS between our organisations.

And from the EA communication:

In addition to the TW reply there are some measures we see as key for the EA to act on and of would be very happy as always to discuss them. Some of these may already be a priority in the event that TW does get the permission to go ahead.

The EA to give priority to flow over fish passes and fish traps

The EA to immediately review all non essential abstraction licenses on the Thames and its tributaries

The EA to take a holistic approach to reach management, so ensure the best possible conditions are maintained at all reaches.


For reference this is the draft Drought Permit and the associated real risks http://www.thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xbcr/corp/drought-plan-appendix-c-drought-permit-options-dec-2011.pdf


Last edited by David Harvey on Thu May 03, 2012 5:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Steve Holmes



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PostSubject: Re: Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement   Thu May 03, 2012 10:41 am

The short summary of the above is Thames Water want to take more water out the Thames, which would reduce flow still further, even at Teddington to almost nil and degenerate the river's fish habitat.

Thames Water asked for a meeting with the TAC to seek our consent, along with the EA's and have listened to our feedback. Dave Harvey represented us very well.

This means behind the scenes, TAC has grown to the stage where we are a strong voice for the river and its anglers.

Much work to do and it's never easy but us anglers are trying to stick up for the river Wink
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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Re: Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement   Wed May 09, 2012 6:54 am

Here are the minutes and info from the second meeting.

Worth a read

I challenged most of the survey areas and conclusions so far as clearly a little bit of local knowledge would have gone a long way. Not had a reply yet...

Intro
http://thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xbcr/corp/Introduction-to-Lower-Thames-Investigation-Forum.pdf

Consultation 1
http://thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xbcr/corp/Stakeholder-Consultation.pdf

Investigations so far (see why i have challenged the survey areas Question )
http://thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xbcr/corp/Lower-Thames-Abstraction-Investigations-Stage-2.pdf

Minutes
http://thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xbcr/corp/Minutes-from-the-Lower-Thames-Investigations-Forum.pdf

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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement   Wed May 09, 2012 10:03 am

Thanks chaps, great work.

I’m slightly confused by the implication that there would be “0 MLD” of water flowing over Teddington weir. Surely this would mean that the Thames upstream of Teddington, and in the Weirpool itself, would effectively be a stillwater lake?!
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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Re: Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement   Wed May 09, 2012 10:06 am

Spot on James, shocking thought really but is in the drought plan. Also to back pump over Molesey Weir, so sending water up to the intakes at Walton.
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James Mitchell

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PostSubject: Re: Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement   Wed May 09, 2012 10:42 am

Chas' turbines won't be doing very well then! Razz


Its laugh or cry, what are these assorted muppets doing to our river?! Mad


Still, at least they're asking us for input first now.
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David Harvey

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PostSubject: Re: Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement   Wed May 09, 2012 9:25 pm

Key for the TAC to be involved and shows how far we have come in only a couple of years. They know what they will get is not some beat around the bush type response, its straight to the point and very direct.

As for Hydro, very big questions. If the they are looking at possible effects of abstraction, then how the hell can they be adding in another factor such as Hydro, its all linked and all adds to the cumulative effects.
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Andy Banham

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PostSubject: Re: Drought & the Lower Thames Operating Agreement   Thu May 10, 2012 7:28 pm

so in effect you are using the river to turn mechanical energy into electrical energy and then to pump it back they are using electrical energy to power mechanical energy........ even if they use diesel pumps they still are muppets. to whom it may concern get it through your thick head hydro is dead. this really has not been thought out. its not the green energy we want its just a disaster.
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