Despite a great deal of progress through our river restoration and wetland projects, we know we have more work to do. Our commitments to Get River Positive by 2030 mean we are absolutely dedicated to improving the health of our region’s rivers for people and wildlife.

The water sector accounts for approximately 24% of quality issues in England’s rivers. With other sectors, including farming, housing and transport accounting for the remaining 76%. Meaning we can’t do this alone.

The reality is we also need the help of farmers, and landowners as well as government and regulators to reduce things like run-off from fields and roads, preventing sediment and excess amounts of nutrients like phosphates from getting into our rivers.

We also need radical collaboration to fast-track the best nature-based solutions to these challenges. Partnering with Severn Trent and other stakeholders on our Get River Positive programme, we can work collaboratively to drive meaningful action and make the changes we all want to see for a better future for our rivers and environment.

Keeping rivers healthy​
River health in England is measured by the Environment Agency (EA). The EA measure the water quality looking at a range of aspects including:​


  • the amount and size of fish and other species​
  • the presence of chemicals like phosphate, ammonia and dissolved oxygen

The Environment Agency monitors all our rivers, streams and lakes regularly at over 7,000 locations. River quality targets are assigned based on various biological, chemical and nutrient testing. ​

Most people think that sewage is the main cause of unhealthy rivers. But all sewage undergoes at least two treatments before entering a river and even then, the water may be filtered a third time by all-natural wetlands. Read more about wetlands in our region and how they naturally improve river health. ​

If you are thinking of spending some leisure time near rivers, remember that treatment sites are indicated on OS maps as a little cluster of four or six circles by rivers near towns. You can find out more about inland bathing water sites in our region here. ​