Background:

The Waver-Wampool catchment is predominantly flat coastal plain, with  intensive farming. To facilitate this agricultural activity, particularly dairy farming, the Waver and Wampool catchments have been heavily modified, and the majority of the channels are straightened and oversized to facilitate land drainage. There are also three pumping stations currently maintained by the Environment Agency which improve land drainage, and a programme of channel maintenance.

There are a number of issues in the catchment including water quality issues, lack of habitat diversity and flood risk, particularly in Wigton.

The catchment also contains some important habitat and wildlife reserves including lowland raised bogs, coastal grazing marshes and sand dunes. The Solway Coast AONB manage the coastal areas of the catchment and Cumbria Wildlife Trust manage a number of nature reserves.  

 

 

 

 

The working group:

Currently the following organisations are represented on the working group:

  • West Cumbria Rivers Trust (Chair)
  • Environment Agency
  • Natural England (Catchment Sensitive Farming)
  • Solway AONB
  • Solway Firth Partnership
  • Cumbria Wildlife Trust
  • United Utilities

What’s happened so far?

The Environment Agency intend to withdraw from managing the pumping stations. The idea of creating a Water Level Management Board to manage channels and water levels in the catchment, funded by landowners and the local authority has been discussed. These plans have been put on hold due to the relevant legeslation requiring an update from Parliament.

The Environment Agency are also undertaking apprails of options for reducing flood risk to properties in Wigton.

Investigations into the sources of poor water quality have been undertaken. West Cumbria Rivers Trust undertook walkover surveys and the Environment Agency used remote sensing techniques to identify priority locations. The next phase of the project will be to work with landowners and farmers to identify projects that will improve habitat and water quality whilst benefiting the farm business.