The Environment Agency (EA) regulates abstraction from and discharges to rivers by issuing permits and checking that these are being complied with. Permit limits are set to ensure the protection of the environment. The EA regularly reviews permits based on the evidence available and it amends these limits when necessary.
As part of its ongoing programme of restoring sustainable abstraction the EA is reviewing abstraction permits. Since 2007 this work has reduced the amount of water being abstracted from the River Itchen catchment each year by more than 5.35 million cubic metres. The EA is also reviewing discharge permits and has successfully reduced the levels of chemicals such as phosphates entering the river system.