Our Friends of the Ems campaign to save the river has got off to an amazing start.
Local MP Gillian Keegan is backing our fight to reduce the huge amount of water being taken from the river’s underground sources and to restore it as a thriving wildlife habitat.
So is our local district councillor Roy Briscoe and our county councillor Mike Magill.
You can follow Gillian’s work on behalf of the Ems online.
We’re also building links with other groups fighting for rare chalk streams like ours.
Already, the Friends have around 40 local households signed up as official supporters. Find out more about the plight of the river and see an email-writing guide to help you add your voice to the campaign.
FOTE had a meeting this month with representatives of Portsmouth Water, who pump out the water, and the Environment Agency, which monitors this process. Another meeting is due to happen next month.
We're pushing for a short-term plan to increase the amount that Portsmouth Water pumps into the river at times of low flow.
Another idea being discussed is to upgrade the distribution infrastructure so water from the Farlington treatment works can be used to fill our local reservoir at Racton. This could reduce the need to take water from the sources of the Ems.
More long-term, if the new Havant Thicket reservoir is built as planned, we believe it could remove the need to take water from the sources of the Ems altogether. This could not happen until about 2029.
Progress with the EA and PW is slow, and there is a lot of talk from both about further studies.
But we believe the evidence is clear. The Ems is suffering – from pollution as well as a lack of water – and action is well overdue.
If you want to join FOTE, please get involved by signing up as supporter. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also keen to receive information, especially written or photographic evidence, that suggests the river once enjoyed better conditions and flows. We are also collecting evidence of how the community or river wildlife has been affected by low flows.
Please use water wisely, as the more we use, the more pressure on our fragile resources.
We’re hoping to hold our annual Christmas tree recycling event on 3 January in The Square, from 10.30am to 2.30pm. Whether it happens depends on what is possible given the coronavirus situation. Keep up to date by following the Greening Westbourne Campaign Facebook page or checking the events section of our website.
Our community orchard at Hampshire Farm Meadows had a good year and is thriving. We’ve sown some wildflower seeds in the area, with more to be sown next year.
We plan to increase our activity on climate change, which was the original focus of Greening Westbourne when we started more than 10 years ago. We’ve submitted a response to the district council’s draft climate emergency action plan, and are liaising with other groups in the South East Climate Alliance.
We’re also working on a project to help us all reduce our use of plastic and lessen its impact on the environment.