Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Recreational risks from river & estuary pollution of the Devon Avon (Aune)

The ACA has long been concerned about the potential hazards of recreational use of the Avon Estuary, despite it being swept by tides twice per day (>ECOLOGY>WATER QUALITY).   The Sewage Treatment Works at Aveton Gifford and other sources of pollution, as described in the Rivers Trust website (see link below) are unpredictable sources of water pollution.  Using rivers for swimming, paddling, fishing and playing is fantastically rewarding and good for our health, but like all outdoor sports, carries an element of risk. There is no public health monitoring of river water quality in the UK, so this map (see link below) will help river users weigh up the risk before taking to the water. It shows some of the sources of pathogens (bacteria or viruses) in rivers which can cause illnesses. The Rivers Trust is calling on all river users to join us in tackling these issues.

Use the Search box to find your location or zoom on the map to see the locations of discharges from the sewerage network which are entering rivers. Avoid entering the water immediately downstream of these discharges, especially after it has been raining. Click the Legend and different symbol information buttons or click symbols on the map to popup information about the types of risks. Use the Layer List button to see other layers, including river flow direction so you can check whether the discharges are upstream of your location.

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=a6dd42e3bc264fc28134c64c00db4a5b&extent=-401307.0872%2C6628364.5565%2C-130261.3849%2C6788576.5678%2C102100

 

Many factors are not possible to show on a map. These include timings and locations of agricultural pollutions, discharges from badly connected household appliances and hidden septic tanks which are not in our datasets. This is why we can never be 100% sure that a location is safe for swimming or recreational access.

Tidal Road ‘beach clean’ Sunday 26th April 2020

CORONA VIRUS UPDATE-

Regarding the Aune Conservation Association’s Tidal Road clean up on 26th April, I am planning to leave attendance up to individuals although Surfers Against Sewage have cancelled their related beach clean events on that day.  The situation is changing on a daily basis, of course, but I figure a dose of fresh air and modest exercise, whilst engaging in a community task at a sensible and manageable distance from others, might do more good than harm at the moment.  Obviously, there will be no pub gathering afterwards!

Tidal Road clean up _ Sunday 12th January, 2020 at 1130 a.m.

The Aune Conservation Association will be organising its usual New Year clean up along the Tidal Road on Sunday 12th January, starting at 11.30am.   Low Water will be around 1300h.    Everybody is welcome to join in but please take note of our safety guidelines (see – http://auneconservation.org.uk/?page_id=791)
We usually have one group starting from Timbers car park  at AG to work downstream towards the stakes at Milburn Orchard and another starting from the Milburn Orchard car park, working back to AG.     Subsequently, a congenial meeting of the two teams in the Fisherman’s Rest would be a good way to start the afternoon.
Please mark this date in your diary.’

A WATER CONSERVATION CHALLENGE

At a recent ‘Water Resilience Summit”, organised by the Westcountry Rivers Trust, there was concern expressed about the impact of climate change on the future availability of water for domestic use. Wildly fluctuating temperatures and rainfall patterns mean that water supply may become much more unpredictable and problematic. Water companies can control supplies through management of supply (quantity & quality) and delivery (improving infrastructure, reducing leaks, better treatment methods) but demand is largely in the hands of consumers. Changing demographics and socio-economic trends have meant that the national UK average for an individual’s daily water consumption is 140 litres/day (l/d). Denmark’s equivalent is only 88l/d. The UK target is 50 l/d!

What can you do to help meet this ambitious target to ensure that supplies do not run short? The answer’s are obvious: don’t use the bath or, alternatively, share the bath water with a friend; don’t flush the lavatory every time you use it – if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down; don’t run the tap when brushing your teeth; use a rain water butt to store water for the garden instead of using tap water; generally, be far more water conservation conscious and pass the message on to others.

By the use of relatively small measures, everybody can help to secure a water resilient future for our children and grandchildren.

REPORT ON AVON ESTUARY FORUM

At last evening’s Avon Estuary Forum (AEF) there was a detailed discussion about the state of the Avon Estuary Patrol.   Here is my view of the situation.
Historically, this service has operated on a rather haphazard and informal basis depending upon the Patrol Officer’s availability and the apparent need during busy periods.  This year, the patrol was operated, as previously, by Marsh Dawes – the Bantham Harbourmaster – for the months of July, August and September following the outcry that erupted when SHDC had proposed to disband the service earlier in the year.   However, for the first time,  the ACA and others received an incident report for each of the three operational months and it is obvious that there is a strong requirement both for an advisory  service to deter speeding and other potentially dangerous activities, and – importantly –  to act as a deterrent against widespread abuse of the waterway and its bye-laws if it were to be left unpatrolled.
The fate of the patrol in 2019 is currently uncertain.  However, because of the outcry that arose about abandonment this year, the new Salcombe Harbourmaster is taking a much more active interest in the Avon than previously and he and other stakeholders – including the ACA – will be involved in the discussion about the patrol’s future before a final decision is made by SHDC.   At the AEF last evening, there was general agreement that because of the increased recreational use of the estuary, there is a greater need than ever for a patrol – which should be available on a more extensive and routine basis than previously: the operation should respond to the changing need.
Obviously, such increased patrol activity would carry increased costs and these will form an important part of the debate about the future operation and its funding.  One of the future scenarios may be that current contributors (ACA, Avon Valley Ski Club, Duchy of Cornwall, Bantham Estate) will be asked to pay more to keep the patrol running, a second scenario is that the donor base might be widened (possibly to include parish councils or river users, as two examples); a third is that the Patrol Officer role might be incorporated with other roles around the estuary to create a full-time position – possibly as part of the Bantham Estate.
An extraordinary AEF will be held in February to debate and review progress on the matter.
Other matters raised at the meeting included:-
1) Environment Agency – it is the intention to invite stakeholders to suggest where and when more comprehensive water sampling could be carried out in the estuary.  The background to this was not explained but the ACA would be enthusiastic supporters!
2) IFCA (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority) –  the public is encouraged to report any unmarked (therefore unlicensed) lobster/ crab pots or suspected illegal fishing (01803 856648 or, out of hours,  07740175479).
3) RYA (Royal Yachting Association) – the public is encouraged to report any poorly marked fishing gear via the website.