‘Where there is no water there is no life’
National Geographic Magazine
In collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire the RBRA made a documentary film titled ‘On the Banks of The Beane’. It highlights how decades of unsustainable water abstraction at the Whitehall Pumping Station, just north of Watton-at-Stone, has completely devastated the upper reaches of our beautiful and historic chalk stream, the river Beane. The film ends with the good news that OFWAT had agreed the Affinity Water plan to reduce abstraction at the Whitehall Pump Station by 90% by 2018.
The production and filming was undertaken by Howard Berry, Senior Lecturer in Post-Production at the University of Hertfordshire. Thanks to his remarkable support the film successfully explains how the excessive demand on the underlying chalk aquifer has damaged the river’s unique ecosystem, frequently leaving its upper reaches completely dry. There are filmed recollections of older residents who describe how the chalk stream used to be during their childhood, plus interviews with local Members of Parliament Oliver Heald (North East Herts) and Stephen McPartland (Stevenage) who provide an insight into the confused politics of managing our regional water resources. There is also an explanation of how some of the river’s non native and invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed are managed.
‘On the Banks of The Beane’ with its important heritage tale had its premiere on 9th October 2014 at Hertford Theatre.
The RBRA also wish to thank the numerous contributors who provided loyal support during the making of this film. Our venture would never have become a reality without your patience and invaluable assistance.
Since making the film, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England,CPRE, gave the RBRA an award in recognition of the efforts made to bring the problems to the attention of a wider audience.