Water management

Water management

Water Management: An enquiry-based learning scheme to explore the management issues associated with a chalk stream

River Chess

The River Chess is a chalk stream within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, The river is fed by the chalk aquifer (water stored in the chalk rock which rises in springs). The Chilterns chalk aquifer also supplies local people with drinking water and provides 20% of London’s drinking water supply. The quality of the water is influenced by a number of factors – with urban and road run-off, agricultural run-off and discharges of untreated sewage all having an impact. With a growing population and an increasing risk of drought due to climate change, water resources in the Chess catchment are increasingly under stress.

Using an enquiry learning format for studying The River Chess:

This resource is aimed at post 16 students and designed to engage students in an investigation of real-world issues. It follows an Enquiry-based learning (EBL) approach (further details in teachers resources)

The nature of enquiry learning is that your class enquiry will be specific to your class. We have produced a module plan called ‘Teaching the River Chess’ to help you decide which aspects of the River Chess you might want to focus on with your students. The plan is divided into five different themes:

  • Hydrology in chalk catchments
  • River Health
  • Human interactions in the drainage basin
  • Managing water demand
  • Creating sustainable water futures

This resource has been produced by staff at the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London as part of the ChessWatch project. The ChessWatch project is a partnership between School of Geography, Queen Mary University of LondonRiver Chess Association (RCA)Chilterns Chalk Streams Project (CCSP) and Thames Water.

Teaching Resources

Materials, including module plan, slides and stimulus materials, can be downloaded from the Chesswatch website.

The following podcast, produced by the Royal Geographical Society, supports this resource.