The Thames basin has a lot of activities which can happen but these cause a lot of conflicts between land users to arise. It comprises of the main drainage basins of the Thames and its tributaries. It is in the most developed part of the UK with a population of around 12 million people, which is a fifth of the nations overall population. It covers an area of around 13,000km squared and includes 14 counties, 58 district councils and 33 local planning authorities.
The Thames basin supply water to the population and abstracts approximately 4700 litres of water each day, from the river and groundwater. It is a large river of 13,000km squared and is a very densely populated area so growth to be able to supply people with enough water was needed to be able to keep them happy. Over the past 30 years demand for public water supplies has increased by approximately 1.7 percent each year. The key features which have influenced this are that:
• The use of water in the home and in the garden has risen meaning that more water in needed to cope with this rise. Things such as hosepipe bans have been put in place to stop people using so much water on their gardens. • Losses through leakage from distribution systems and consumers plumbing caused by aging pipes wearing away through erosion so water is leaking out of the spaces which are left meaning water is not 100 percent getting to where it is meant to go. • Population growth and household size meaning that more people use more water so demand for water has risen because they need to be supplied with water for living. Also the bigger the house the more water which is used throughout the house and this means that demand is even higher because of the sizes of the houses which are being built these days. • Development pressure and economic activity which effects the amount of water being used because the more housing which is developed the more water in the surrounding area is going to be used in the next few years.
The area which the Thames Basin lies contains much chalk, limestone, sand and gravel all of which create opportunities for mineral extraction. Although there is these useful materials in the Thames river basin the main use of the river by industry is it allows for import and export of raw materials and finished goods. Many large scaled heavy industry such as car manufacturers located in the flat floodplains because it was cheap and there was water for cooling purposes as well as the river for trade. The former industries in the London docklands are a good example from the past whereas the industries and refineries located in Tilbury and Canvey are good present examples. The pressure on land caused by industry on water resources and water quality causes damage to the environment.
Most major settlements are built by rivers mostly in the lower stage because there are so many varied benefits. The benefits which a river brings to a settlement are a good supply of drinking water, good potential for trade and communications, relatively flat sites for residential and industrial development and in the past fertile silt which is good for farming. Many of the settlements are built on raised ground in order to reduce the risk of flooding; Oxford is an excellent example within the Thames basin. Much of the floodplain of the Thames basin has not been built upon as it has been left for farming and recreational use. Housing and industry tends to be located on the higher ground away from the flooding risk. However some developments appear to be at the risk of flooding. The Thames gateway initiative in the east of London and neighboring counties is a national priority for regeneration. There are 14 zones which have change planned with forecasts of housing growth in 2001 to 2016 of about 100,000 and employment growth of about