NRA targets Thames Water in fight over drying rivers

Thames Water's abstractions from the Darent catchment in Kent have been picked as the first target in a new push by the National Rivers Authority (NRA) to alleviate the growing problem of low river flows in eastern and southern England. The firm is blaming the drought for the Darent's low flows - but they are as much the legacy of misguided decisions by its predecessor and its own current management practices.

Water companies were told by the NRA in June that it wants to set timetables to reduce abstractions from 40 rivers suffering from low flows.

The NRA approached Thames Water last year about the Darent problem, but was dissatisfied with the response and has now gone public with its demand for a voluntary cut in the company's abstractions in the area.

The Darent drains rolling countryside to the south-east of London. Before it reaches t

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