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 enlarged to facilitate land drainage. There are also three pumping stations currently maintained by the Environment Agency which improve land drainage, and a program 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
  • Wigton Town Council
  • Trees for Wigton group
  • 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 creation of a Water Level Management Board to manage channels and water levels in the catchment, funded by landowners and the local authority, is in discussion and landowners will be formally consulted on this in  2024.

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.

Catchment Sensitive Farming Officers continue to help farms to reduce air and water pollution, working closely with the Environment Agency. West Cumbria Rivers Trust is delivering projects to improve water quality and river habitat with funding from the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Water Environment Improvement Funding. Projects delivered so far include bankside fencing, bank stabilisation using willow and tree planting.

Wigton Town Council have also delivered projects to enhance the quality and access to green spaces around Wigton Town. The largest project to date was at Throstle Park where a pond was created, 1,000 trees planted and access paths installed. More information about this project is available here.

Farmer meetings, hosted by Farmer Network, Natural England and West Cumbria Rivers trust, are being held regularly to share best practice and updates on environmental schemes.

The Solway Coast AONB are working on a new management plan to look after the special habitats they manage and ensure these are valued by the community.