Just found this archive document produced by the Environment Agency “River Aire Fact File”.
It is a little out of date – not quite sure how old – but very interesting all the same as not much has changed since it was produced and the base data about the river and its catchment is still valid. However a LOT has changed over the centuries…
“Until the 17th century, the river was used as a source of drinking water by the people of Leeds. The onset of the industrialisation soon made this a hazardous pursuit.
At the turn of the 19th century, salmon could still be caught in the Aire downstream of Bradford. By 1825 though, the river was nearly devoid of life and remained so for another 100 years.”