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Self-cleaning screen helps protect eels on River Wandle

SES Water has installed a new type of self-cleaning protective screen near Goat Bridge abstraction point on the River Wandle which will help safeguard European eel stocks which have declined enormously over the last 30 years.

The self-cleaning screen, developed in partnership with Mackley and Eliquo Hydrok, is approved by the Environment Agency as it provides essential protection for not only juvenile eels, but other fish species as well, due to its 2mm screen opening. The self-cleaning ‘air purge’ system keeps the screen clear of debris as water is abstracted at Goat Bridge, partially treated and pumped upstream to Carshalton Ponds to maintain important fish habitats in the upper reaches.

The drastic fall in European eel numbers prompted the European Commission to produce an Eel Recovery Plan which would boost declining eel stocks throughout Europe. The Environment Agency has been responsible for delivering the plan in England as well as ensuring it conforms with the Eels (England and Wales) Regulations 2009.

Civil Engineer at SES Water, Christopher Karunanithi said: “We need to abstract water from rivers all over our supply area but in doing so must minimise the effect of our activities on the local environment. This project has actually enhanced the river habitat for wildlife and in particular for fish and eel stocks which have seen a big decline over the last couple of decades. As a company we take our environmental responsibilities very seriously and will always go above and beyond our policy requirements whenever we can.”

The screen is a low maintenance solution and was completed on time and within budget thanks to collaborative working between several different organisations.

Senior Projects Officer at the South East Rivers Trust, Tim Longstaff, said: “It is great to see SES Water is taking eel conservation and the Eels Regulations seriously. Eel populations are in a critical condition and rivers like the Wandle offer important habitat for them. Anything that is done to preserve and improve their chances of survival should be applauded.”

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Innovation , Water Resource Management
Tags: Rivers , eels , conservation

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