The Thames region is made up of the drainage basins of the Thames and its tributaries. One fifth of the nation’s population live here, approximately 12 million. It covers 14 counties and 13000kmi??. The Thames itself has 5 main tributaries. The River Cole, River Lee, River Kennet, River Wey and the River Lodden. In the west, most of the land has been used for agriculture, so the area is still rural. However, in the east, areas are more urbanised as this is where people live and work.
There are many different uses for the Thames drainage basin, for many different groups and industries. However, as there are so many different groups wanting to use the basin in different ways, there can be a lot of conflict around the issue. One of the uses for the Thames basin is fishing. For local fisherman this is there source of income, so is very important. However, there are many problems the fisherman face. The Thames basin is also used for waste disposal, this causes problems for the fishermen as the sewage can poison the fish, causing them to die or become infected.
Big oil refineries contribute to this pollution, and so there is a conflict of industries. Also, tourism and recreational activities such as swimming and sailing effect the times they can fish, as fishing with other activities taking place at the same time can be dangerous. Also, there is a similar problem due to the river being used for transport. Fisherman cannot fish when there are big containers being shipped down the river. Also, these containers often disturb the fish, causing them to swim away from the fishermen.
The extraction of sand and gravel from the Thames bed can also effect fishing, as the fish lay eggs in the river bed, and so when the sand and gravel is extracted this sometimes kills the eggs, lowering fish stocks. However, Waste disposal also faces difficulties when using the Thames basin. They are limited to the amount of waste they can dispose of due to fishing being so popular, and large amounts of waste can kill the fish. Also if large amounts of waste are dumped in the river then the tourism industry will suffer, as the Thames is a big attraction.
The river is also used for many recreational activities, such as swimming. If there are large amounts of waste in the river, no-one will want to go swimming. Also, transportation may be effected as there may be so much waste in the river large containers may not be able to be used anymore. Waste disposal can also effect sand and gravel extraction, as the quality of the sand can be decreased if a lot of waste it dumped in the river. Tourism is another industry that uses the Thames basin. However, tourism also conflicts with the other ways the basin is used.
Fishing effects what the tourists can do whilst visiting, for example tours and cruises along the river. Also, waste disposal can have a negative impact on tourism as it makes the place look less attractive. Local recreational activities such as sailing may be interrupted by guided tours and cruises along the river. Tourism may also be affected by the shipping industry, as large containers in the river do not look appealing and also limit what tourists can do in the river. Other industries, such as oil refineries, can also effect the natural beauty of the area, as well as contributing to pollution.
Sand and gravel being extracted from the river can also effect the tourism industry, as it can require large machinery which again decreases tourism. The tourism industry around the Thames area is suffering hugely due to all of the problems it faces, so there is no wander there is conflict surrounding the issue. The Thames basin is also used for recreational activities, such as sailing and canoeing. However these activities cause conflict with other groups of people who use the drainage basin. Fishing is a local traditional hobby as well as a source of income for some fisherman.
As you could imagine, when people are fishing it can be dangerous for other activities in the river to take place, which often creates conflict. Also, waste disposal can effect recreation in and around the Thames, as high amounts of waste disposal will make the river less appealing visually, and activities will become less popular. The tourism industry also causes a problem for many recreational activities, as there are an increasing number of guided tours and cruises along the Thames, which restricts canoes being allowed on the river.
Again at certain times the river is being used for importing and exporting goods, as big containers are being shipped up and down the river, and this again limits the times the river can be used for recreational activities. Sand and gravel extraction from the river requires lots of machinery and buildings on the Thames basin. This takes up room that would have been used for recreational activities. For example, the Cotswold water park is an important resource within the Thames basin, it is made up of many lakes which attract many visitors. The river Thames is an ideal way to import and export goods into the country.
However, this means large containers being shipped frequently down the river. As you could imagine, this creates huge amounts of conflict between the other groups of people who also wish to use the Thames and its surrounding area. Transportation is limited as certain parts of the Thames are designated fishing areas, were no boats are allowed, which makes it much more difficult for the ships. This is a similar case with recreational activities, as much of the river is assigned to clubs and communitys, such as sailing, swimming, and canoeing, so it is extremely difficult for large containers to be shipped.
Shipping also faces issues from the tourism industry, as big containers are unappealing to the eye and have a negative impact on tourism. Tourism also increases the amount of guided walks, tours, and cruises in and around the Thames, which again causes trouble when shipping. When sand and gravel is extracted from the Thames, it can create sandbanks which can cause problems for ships using the Thames. The industries based around the river Thames also face many problems. Industries often use the water from the Thames as a source of power.
However, they are limited to the amount of water they can use for this as fishing is popular around the Thames. The tourism industry also conflicts with the other industries using the Thames basin. For example, oil refineries receive a lot of complaints from tour companies as they are unappealing to tourists, and also cause a lot of pollution which again makes the area less appealing. Industries are also limited as to where they can build and expand, as area around the Thames basin is also used for recreational activities, especially the valleys, which are used for sports grounds and farmland.
Another use of the Thames is for sand and gravel extraction. However, this also causes conflict. They are limited as to where and how much can be extracted, due to fish laying eggs in the bed. This has to be monitored carefully or else fish stocks will decrease which will upset the fishing industry. Also waste disposal can effect the quality of the sand and gravel being extracted, as sewage can mix in with the sand, which makes the sand effectively useless for building and other uses.
The tourism industry also does not like the machinery involved in extraction, as it is loud, and visually pollutes the area. It often destroys the natural beauty of the place. Extraction can often make the riverbed unlevel, which some parts being deeper than others. This makes recreational activities such as sailing and canoeing dangerous, so there is often conflict here. Finally, there is a similar issue with shipping, as large boats cannot be transported down rivers that potentially have sandbanks in the river, as this is dangerous.
In order for these conflicts to be avoided, the Thames drainage basin must be monitored and managed. The environment agency has been doing so for many years now, and have managed it so all users can meet there needs, without conflicting with other users. One of the main ways it has done this is by dividing the Thames into sections, so that some areas are dedicated to fishing, and some areas are dedicated to the industries surrounding the river. Fifty years ago, the river Thames was very polluted. However, today, the river Thames is the cleanest river that flows through a major city.