Clean, safe, resilient and plentiful water resources and water environments by 2030
All water on Earth is connected, so there really is just one source of water one global well from which we all draw our water. Every ocean wave, every lake, stream and underground river, every raindrop and snowflake and every bit of ice in glaciers and polar icecaps is part of this global well. So whether you are turning on faucet in North America, pulling water from well in Kenya or bathing in river in India, it is all the same water. And because it is all connected, how we treat the water in the well will affect every species on the planet, including us, now and for years to come.
Rochelle Strauss
One Well: The Story of Water on Earth

Resilient Catchments

Supporting the provision of clean and sustainable water resources for Bannau Brycheiniog (Brecon Beacons) and beyond. By 2028 we will have:
Nutrient Levels
Within the Usk and Wye Catchments nutrient levels will be within safe levels for ecological resilience.
Water Flow
The water levels within our rivers, ground sources and soils are sufficient for ecological and human health.
Restored Ecosystems
The ecological features for which the Rivers Wye, Tywi and Usk are designated as Special Areas of Conservation are fully restored and in good ecological health.
The impacts of flooding in vulnerable towns on the Usk and Wye are reduced during events such as those experienced in 2020.

High quality Water environments

Ensuring that the health and well-being benefits gained from high quality, nature-rich, water environments can be experienced by all who live within and visit the Bannau Brecheiniog. By 2028 we will have:
Water Quality
Pollutants such as heavy metals, microplastics and pharmaceuticals will be mostly eradicated by 2030 and a pathway of action for total eradication is known.
Bathing Waters
Areas of our water environment will have been allocated as being of bathing water standard, and a code of conduct for open water swimming will have been adopted across Bannau Brycheiniog.
Love Your Rivers
Residents and visitors will have a renewed relationship with our water environments, especially the rivers of the National Park. They will be celebrated for their cultural, recreational and environmental value.


Water is the most fundamental substance associated with human and planetary health. It is the lifeblood that supports all plant and animal life on Earth as well as our key systems, such as food production, industry and sanitation.

Water as a resource is being utilised at an unsustainable rate. It is estimated that by 2050 about half a billion people are likely to be subject to water stress. This includes us here in Bannau Brycheiniog, and the wider catchments our water resources serve. 50% of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water’s water abstracted on a daily basis comes from within our boundary.

In 2021, the Stockholm Resilience Centre published new data looking at ‘green water’, which is the water that is embedded within soil and atmosphere and fundamental to safeguarding the functioning of planetary systems. Their assessment found that as a total global human race, we were using this resource at a rate and scale that is unsustainable and potentially threatening to our planetary stability, or our ability to maintain exploitation at current levels. They urged a new research agenda to determine both the threat that our use of water systems causes and a means of mitigating and adapting to changing availability within a changing climate.

It is not just water quantity that is under threat, very sadly there is both global and local data demonstrating that our water environments are being damaged through human impacts. Our activity is adding excess nutrients, chemicals, heavy metals and plastics into these vital systems. Globally 35% of our wetlands have disappeared since 1970, leading to a decline in 83% of freshwater species.

Here in the National Park, the same threats are observed. Rivers and wetlands are the most ecologically important features of the National Park. They are an important part of our historic and cultural environment, providing extensive health and well-being benefits. However, they are also the most threatened environment and resource we have. A range of compounding impacts has breached tipping points, meaning that self-regulating natural processes essential to the quality and quantity of water environments, can no longer properly function. This is particularly true in relation to phosphate levels which at the time of writing are so significant that there is a need for fundamental change in land management practice and water treatment.

This Plan’s ambitions for water quality, quantity and water environments are intended to ensure that this essential and life-giving resource is protected for the benefit of future generations. We will work across organisations, eNGOs, citizens groups and statutory bodies to ensure we can protect this resource for the future.


Water is the fountain of life, it is our most valuable resource and our most vulnerable.
The communities of Bannau Brycheiniog have interacted with our water systems and the blue landscape throughout history.
The people of Wales and beyond rely on our water systems for their physical, mental and recreational needs – water connects us.
Our role is to lead a new focus on the importance of water within the National Park, to place the protection, repair and recovery of our water systems at the heart of all that we do.

As an organisation, Bannau Brycheiniog commits to the following for Water

We will prioritise water and our water systems in all our activities and work with our staff and stakeholders to share the importance of the water mission for all.
We will be exemplars in establishing the Usk Catchment Partnership to lead in the full ecological recovery of the catchment for water quality, nutrient management, water security, amenity, wildlife and ecosystem services.
We will work in partnership to protect and enhance all our water systems within the National Park, rivers - lakes, canals, peatlands, marshes and wetlands - for their role in nature recovery, climate change, flood protection, water provision and supporting the wellbeing of our communities and visitors.
We will support communities, households, businesses and visitors to re-connect to the blue landscape through the stories of history, culture and geology. We will work in partnership with, and support, the agricultural sector to explore approaches to land management and practices that enable food production and ecological restoration to combine for the benefit of all.
We will share the evidence and data so that we can all understand the impact our lives and behaviours have on our water, how we can protect our watercourses and ensure they can be enjoyed for years to come.

Water Voices

The voices of Brycheiniog is a series of creative stories, poems, songs, and postcards from the people of Brycheiniog. Immerse yourself in their stories, values and passion for Bannau Brycheiniog.
Eulogy for Ioan Brychan