Ouse Upper and Bedford Management Catchment

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Operational catchments

There are 5 operational catchments in this management catchment.

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    About

    The River Great Ouse dominates the catchment, from its source near Brackley, flowing north east to Earith. Other main tributaries include the Padbury and Clayden Brooks, rivers Tove, Ouzel, Flit, Ivel, Kym and the Alconbury Brook. The Grand Union Canal crosses through the catchment and is a key inland waterway link from London to the Midlands. Major urban areas are Brackley, Milton Keynes, Leighton Buzzard, Bedford, St Neots, Huntingdon and the North Hertfordshire towns of Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock. The catchment has significant development. Rivers are generally slow flowing, apart from the chalk stream tributaries of the River Ivel. Land is largely used for agriculture, particularly horticulture, arable and livestock farming. With extensive sand, gravel and clay deposits, the catchment continues to be important for surface quarrying industries. Redundant pits have been used for waste disposal or as lakes for water sports, fisheries and nature reserves. The catchment supports a range of water-based services and activities. Water from rivers and underground water (the Chalk, Woburn Sands and Great Oolite aquifers) is abstracted for public water supply, agricultural, horticultural and industrial use. Water is taken from the River Ouse at Offord to supply Grafham Water reservoir.

    Image of Houghton Mill, Houghton, Cambridgeshire