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Helping save our chalk streams

Currently 81% of our chalk streams are struggling and failing to meet ‘good ecological health’ standards. Our partnership has worked to address some of the issues and pressures affecting these vital waterways, by working to promote good water management nationally, as well as taking direct action on the ground to reduce pollution and protect habitats.

What we're doing

Our partnership successes from 2012-2015 include:

  • Cleaning up and improving 7km of river
  • Replenishing (returning to nature) over 286 million litres of water
  • Working with farmers across 2000 acres of land to reduce the impact of agriculture on the river Nar in Norfolk
  • Supporting the improvement of the 2014 Water Act as part of WWF’s advocacy work
  • Promoting water stewardship through engagement with communities and stakeholders

In July 2015, we announced a new programme, and over the next three years we'll be significantly scaling up our sustainable farming work, by working directly with at least 100 farmers and engaging a further 2,000 in water sensitive and sustainable farming practices across areas where sugar beet, used in Coca-Cola’s GB drinks, is grown. We'll support them to improve the way they manage their land, by improving soils and reducing run-off pollution from all agricultural production, which in turn will improve river health and protect these important habitats and their wildlife.

As of September 2017, we're working with The Rivers Trust and Catchment Based Approach (CaBA) partners to deliver three water management projects to replenish water in the Thames and South East River Basins for the benefit of both people and wildlife.

Funded as part of the global Coca-Cola ‘replenish programme’, these three new projects will locally contribute to the company promise to safely return the equivalent amount of water used in all their drinks and production to communities and nature.

Natalie Smith, our Head of Corporate Stewardship commented:

"The chalk aquifer in the Thames basin is officially classed as in water stress and defined by the Environment Agency as in ‘poor quantitative status’. Abstraction and pollution are taking a toll on this incredibly important water system, and this work will focus on improving water quality and relieving water scarcity.”

The projects will work in river catchments, with local people, to improve the resilience and health of rivers by implementing water management solutions, such as sustainable drainage systems and the creation of wetlands.

To find out more about each project involved visit:    

Why we're doing it

England’s rivers are under pressure - only a quarter are currently considered healthy enough to support thriving eco-systems - and as the climate changes and population grows their future becomes more uncertain. 

We believe that if managed properly there'll be enough water to meet the needs of both people and nature in future years. To achieve this, businesses, governments, NGOs and individuals all need to play their part. This partnership is an important step on that journey.