WILD swimming in the River Leam has moved a step closer.
The Observer broke the story earlier this year of Severn Trent’s Green Recovery bathing rivers project plan, the first of its kind for a water company, which will include a stretch of the river running alongside Leamington’s Pump Room Gardens being opened up to swimmers.
Severn Trent bosses hope that by 2025 wild swimmers will be able to swim past landmark Midlands locations including Leamington’s Regency Pump Room.
The water company is investing £78million to improve 50km of rivers in Warwickshire and Shropshire as part of a scheme that will create bathing quality rivers on the River Leam and River Teme.
Monitoring systems have now started to supply real time data about the quality improvements of the river water, with monitors and sampling taking place across 50 locations and giving readings every 15 minutes – making it one of the most extensive river monitoring programmes in the UK.
As Severn Trent’s Green Recovery programme works towards its goal of 15km of bathing quality waters by 2025, the company has also pledged to double the amount of bathing rivers in its region in the next ten years.
Bosses say the improvements will bolster Severn Trent’s commitment to ensure 90 per cent of people in the Midlands live within an hour’s drive of a bathing water site by 2030. There are currently no bathing quality rivers in the UK.
An app will also be created to give river water quality status information to members of the public, to better understand the health of their local rivers.
Wilfred Denga, bathing rivers lead of Severn Trent, said: “Understanding more about what’s literally under the surface of rivers and knowing the current water quality, will help us know what’s needed to get it to bathing quality. It will also determine what engagement we need to do with others, such as farmers and other industries, to help reach our ambitious goals.”
Warwick District Council leader Coun Andrew Day welcomed the work being carried out to improve the river quality.
He said: “Being land-locked and a good few miles from the nearest coastline, this ambition presents residents and visitors with a creative opportunity to enjoy their local river along with the bio-diversity and tranquillity of the riverbanks, without having to travel too far from home.
“We hope that this investigative work enables the next steps for our residents, which will see them being able to make informed choices about how and when they use the river for their leisure activities; providing a safe and local alternative to travelling to the coastline.”