About Afonydd Cymru

Afonydd Cymru was formed in 2008 as an umbrella organisation to represent member Rivers Trusts across Wales. Afonydd Cymru received charitable status on the 30th January 2012.

The rivers and lakes of Wales form an intricate part of our beautiful natural landscape and heritage. There are 23 classed as ‘main’ and 10 ‘other’ rivers plus their tributaries. Main rivers are recognised as such for the purpose of fishery identification and reporting. They should have appreciable runs of salmon and in many cases, sea trout too. As well as that, the varying geology and slope offer a range of biodiversity, habitats and species, many of which result in important UK and EU designations.

There are eight rivers classed as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), as are four lakes (Llyns) and four estuaries. However, none of these designations do justice to their sheer beauty. Their value as suppliers of services and benefits such as a clean and abundant supply of drinking water, hydropower, and even disposal of waste (within practical limits) is huge. Additionally, angling and associated tourism brings in visitors and much needed employment and revenue to the rural economy. This is estimated to be worth £150million each year.

Pressures on our Rivers

Land Management

Considerable progress has been made over the last 30 years to clean up Wales rivers from the damage caused by its industrial past. The river Taff, for example, was virtually lifeless and now supports thriving fish populations including salmon. But whilst chemical water pollution has significantly decreased in recent years, the hoped-for widespread improvements to the ecology of our rivers from the introduction of the Water Framework Directive have not been delivered …

Human Impact

Afonydd Cymru is concerned about all sources of pollution affecting our rivers in Wales. CSOs can cause pollution and increased microbial loading particularly after periods of heavy rainfall. However, from the evidence that we have examined, both from NRW’s monitoring data and our observations when carrying out River Habitat Surveys, there is little current evidence that CSOs are responsible for widespread deterioration in the overall water quality in Welsh rivers …

Climate Change

In 2019, the Welsh Government announced a Climate Change Emergency for Wales. In 2021, the Senedd approved a pathway to net zero carbon by 2050. However, the most recent climate change predictions undertaken by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) predict that Wales will see by 2050 under a medium scenario …

Get In Touch