Water Quantity

Every drop counts...

The quantity of water in the Wye can pose challenges to its inhabitants in high flows and low flows. As well as being a valuable supply of drinking water, water in the Wye supports local food production, tourism, recreation and wildlife. However, the Wye can also pose a threat to local residents and businesses with more than 1400 properties, both residential and non-residential, at risk from surface water flooding.

The Wye provides drinking water for 2.5 million people!

There are drinking water abstractions throughout the Wye; Welsh Water supply householders inside the catchment as well as Birmingham, Cardiff and Newport whilst Severn Trent Water also supply householders in Gloucestershire.


The demand for water from the Wye is met, in part by the construction of reservoirs in the upper part of the catchments. Water is either piped from these reservoirs by gravity to Birmingham or extra flows are released down the river to be abstracted. Various abstraction points take water for local use too. Agricultural use includes irrigation, winter storage reservoirs and other licenced abstractions including water for livestock.

  • The Usk & Wye Abstraction Group:

    The UWAG consortium has ensured designed solutions that ensure the best for the river and waterways with the least impact on supplies for the water companies.

  • Herefordshire Water Abstraction Group:

    After the drought conditions threatened so many agricultural abstractions in early 2012 an Abstraction Group for farmers formed in Herefordshire. The group is chaired by Peter Gwynne from Agri Management Solutions.


Many households and businesses are threatened by surface water and river flooding in the Wye. The Environment Agency are responsible for management of main rivers; local authorities are responsible for surface water and localised flooding from streams. The Internal Drainage Board are also responsible for watercourse maintenance in certain tributaries.

Want to keep an eye on river levels?

  • Enviroment Agency

    The Environment Agency has a network of gauging stations monitoring river levels. To access an interactive map of up to date river levels click here:

  • The Wye & Usk Foundation

    The Wye & Usk Foundation have six webcams spread throughout the Wye to monitor river levels for recreation. To view the live webcam feeds click here:

Local Authority Flood Plans:

Each Local Authority has the ‘lead’ role in managing flood risk from surface water, groundwater and ordinary watercourses across their county. To read about the strategy for your county click here:

  • Herefordshire Council

    Find out how to prepare and what to do to during and after flooding in Herefordshire.

  • Powys County Council

    Find out how to prepare and what to do to during and after flooding in Powys:

  • Monmouthshire County Council

    Find out how to prepare and what to do to during and after flooding in Monmouthshire:

Internal Drainage Board:

  • The River Lugg Internal Drainage Board

    The River Lugg IDB is responsible for water level management and watercourse maintenance in defined areas of low-lying land within the catchments of the Rivers Lugg, Arrow and Frome as well as parts of the Worm Brook.

Natural Flood Management:

Much can be achieved by attenuating flows in the upper catchment through improved soil management and construction of leaky dams and swales. This is a new approach in the Wye with several projects due to be launched in 2017, however there are many locations elsewhere in the UK where it has been proven effective in reducing flood risk.

NFM Projects in the Wye

  • There are now two NFM projects in the Wye targeting 7 sub-catchments which have residents effected by localised flooding, they include: - Bodenham Brook near Bodenham - Upper Frome & Tedstone Brook upstream of Bromyard - Cheaton Brook near Kimbolton - Pentaloe Brook near Mordiford - Red & Norton Brook upstream of Rotherwas and Lower Bullingham - Dulas Brook near Ewyas Harold - Yazor Brook near Credenhill and Hereford Several partners will be working to deliver these projects in 2018-19 including Herefordshire Council, Environment Agency, Wye & Usk Foundation and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.