Low groundwater levels pose risk to rivers and streams

Low groundwater levels pose risk to rivers and streams

The UK Environment Agency reports that lower than average rainfall over the past year, and especially continuing through April and May – particularly in the East of England – has seen some river flows decline to lower than normal for the time of year. It says that in the south and east, rainfall has not replenished groundwater stores, and levels are now declining. Although  currently there is no threat to public water supply, these dry conditions are putting particular pressure on the environment and agriculture.

Readings taken last week (6 June) at the Preston Candover monitoring station  (see below) show groundwater levels significantly lower than normal. This could have an effect on some vegetation, especially large trees with shallow root structures.

PC groundwater 6-6-19

The Environment Agency says that May’s rainfall was below average across England at 73% of the long term average. Soils have continued to dry and were drier than average across the whole country by the end of May. River flows decreased during May and monthly mean flows were lower than normal at the majority of sites that it reports on. Groundwater levels continued to decline and by the end of May, were lower than normal for the time of year at the majority of sites it monitors. Total reservoir stocks for England were at 86% of capacity at the end of May, 4% lower than at the end of April. See here for full report. (It could take some time to load).

A National Drought Group (NDG) meeting was convened last week (4 June) to review water resources ahead of summer, following a dry winter and spring which has affected river flows and groundwater levels, and action is being initiated to support wildlife and agriculture.  See here for the full report of the NDG.




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