Nick Davies (The old man and the river, 8 October) raises many pertinent questions with regard to pollution of the Sussex Ouse, but similar problems affect many lowland rivers. He is right that we face huge financial issues in attempting (unsuccessfully) to comply with the worthy but unpopular EU water framework directive. Not least is the gross underfunding and understaffing of the Environment Agency.

One point of clarification: rainfall in the area is not declining but is increasing in intensity, ie more rainfall falling on fewer days, so he is correct to highlight waste and overuse of water by consumers as a cause of low flow and increased pollution in rivers.

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Source: Guardian Environment