Trying to get better data about discharges into our rivers

It is proving very difficult to get information about water quality.

Back in June, an East Devon councillor welcomed discharges by South West Water being investigated – having put in her own Freedom of Information requests on the issue:

Otter Valley councillor welcomes inquiry into sewage discharges into rivers | Sidmouth Herald

However, following further FOI requests by the same councillor, “South West Water has refused to reveal the number of sewage discharges into the River Otter this year, citing the ongoing industry-wide investigation by Ofwat.” 

As Cllr Bailey said: “Of course we must be entitled to know how much sewage is being discharged into our rivers, regardless of whether there is an investigation.”

SWW refuses local request for sewage discharge information | Sidmouth Herald

In the meantime, there is even less data available:

UK government delays clean water and nature targets, breaching Environment Act | Thérèse Coffey | The Guardian

Finally, this week, the head of the Environment Agency has signalled he wants to reform how water quality is monitored, “to ensure it drives action that will deliver the clean and plentiful water we all want.”

As the head of the Wildlife and Countryside Link says: “That can be achieved by better monitoring and reporting of water quality, and by giving polluters clear legal responsibility for cleanup. The trick is that new responsibilities should be set as a way to deliver overall river quality targets, not as a replacement.”

EA head signals desire to change rule that exposes extent of river pollution | Rivers | The Guardian