Ground Water

The groundwater status in the Kennet Catchment is poor

This is becuase there is not always enough groundwater to keep the rivers and streams on the surface flowing. The quality of groundwater is not always good, in some places it contains pollutants which affect drinking water quality, and can have an impact on the ecology.

Why is ground water important?

Ground water is important not only to keep rivers and streams flowing, but also as a source of drinking water. Where too much groundwater is abstracted to put into public water supply, the rivers on the surface suffer. The majority of groundwater abstractions in this catchment are from the chalk aquifer of the Berkshire Downs. The Catchment Management Plan contains actions to reduce groundwater abstraction, particularly on the Kennet at Axford and the River Og.

Designated Nitrate Vulnerable Zone

Much of the catchment has also been designated as a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ). This limits how much nutrient farmers are allowed to put on to the land. These nutrients can reach down into the groundwater and pollute it. Farmers can get advice on reducing their impact on ground and surface waters through the Catchment Sensitive Farming Programme in the Kennet catchment.