Bentley's Thames Water waste water treatment works discharged sewage into the River Wey 62 times last year.

These spillages lasted a total of 595.90 hours – nearly 25 days – and affected the river between Alton and Tilford as well as the groundwater.

The figures were revealed by the Environment Agency in its Event Duration Monitoring Storm Overflows 2022 statistics.

Nancy Clarke, of Alton and Villages Local Action for Nature, said: “These figures are shocking, but not a surprise.

“The River Wey, a precious chalk river, is being choked to death by raw sewage dumping and agricultural run-off.

“Despite what the water companies say, sewage is being dumped even when there is no heavy rainfall. Billions of pounds of investment are needed to update our sewage systems. Unfortunately, this money is going instead to overseas shareholders and chief executives.

“The government seems to have jumped on the bandwagon recently, but it is too little, too late. The water companies have had 30 years to fix this – we have been paying our water bills to fix this!

“If you are angry about this and want change, there will be a protest outside DEFRA in London on Friday, April 21, as part of the Big One with Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other supporting organisations, to hold the government accountable.

“Personally, I can’t bear to see the state of our rivers. It is heartbreaking and depressing. This is water we’re talking about, our most precious and vital resource.”

Of the other 11 Thames Water sites in the Herald area, Haslemere was the worst, with 50 spills lasting 636.74 hours. Selborne (39 spills, 416.84 hours), Bordon (27 spills, 415.77 hours), Farnham (25 spills, 210.14 hours), Waverley Lane (16 spills, 118.18 hours) and Godalming (14 spills, 60.03 hours) were also significant polluters.