Skip to Main Content


Pollution of rivers, lakes, and coastal waters is a pressing concern and a major challenge for biodiversity.

What’s going on?

Pollution creates excess nutrients which cause algal blooms and reduced oxygen levels in the water. It adds pathogens, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and other toxic materials to the water.

All of this endangers aquatic life and impacts the diversity and strength of ecological communities nearby.

Sewage systems are dealing with volumes of waste they were never designed for. But they are not the sole cause of pollution – in fact, agriculture is a much larger source of pollution in British rivers.

Water bottle floating in ocean

Get nature positive

Wastewater is generally treated to the very highest standards in the UK. But there are challenges.

Treatment requires a large amount of energy, which itself has consequences for nature. Sewage works can sometimes struggle to cope with the effects of climate change and rapidly growing populations.

Sewage networks can often be clogged up by the flushing away of wet wipes, nappies, and other products never designed to be flushed away, causing sewer flooding and pollution. Rainwater can inundate sewage networks, leading to untreated (albeit heavily diluted) wastewater ending up in rivers. Industry estimates indicate that water sector discharges from storm overflows comprise 85 percent rainwater.

However, there are solutions to these challenges.

Inspired by steps leading water companies are already taking, we’ve compiled some suggested actions to help you on your journey to nature positivity.

Actions for nature
River with bridge

Take action

Explore the actions your business can take to get nature positive.
Learn more