Drought hits Sherston – it’s official

16 Apr

Wessex Water (our local water provider/monopoly) has announced that Sherston, as well as a large part of central/western England, is now a drought area. They have advised:

“We are experiencing a period of abnormally low rainfall; in the last two winters we have received only 80% of average rainfall and in the last 12 months we’ve only received 76% of average

As a result of the recent rainfall patterns our region is in an “environmental drought” which occurs when low rainfall leads to lower than usual river flows and groundwater levels which can impact on wildlife and agriculture.

An environmental drought is different to a “water resource drought” which occurs when low rainfall leads to lower than usual reservoir and groundwater storage that can impact on the availability of water for public supplies.”

Clearly this is both a very serious issue and somewhat expected given that water restrictions have already been imposed in eastern England.

What is hard to understand is the impact the drought will have on the local wildlife – the Kingfishers, dragonflies, stickleback fish etc. Over the past few years the large pump at Stanbridge (on the Sopworth road from the village) has pumped very significant amounts of water from underground sources to keep the river flowing to some degree.

If the Sherston branch of the Avon was to be significantly reduced or even dry up it, the impact on our wildlife would be dramatic – let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Maybe I should ask Wessex Water what their plan is!

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4 Responses to “Drought hits Sherston – it’s official”

  1. Martin Rea April 16, 2012 at 8:03 pm #

    Might be a very good idea to discover Wessex Water’s plans at this early stage.Perhaps Malmesbury River Valleys Trust might be interested too.

  2. sherstonwildlife April 16, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Martin, I have just sent an email to Wessex Water – will let you know when I get a response.

  3. Martin Rea April 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    Thanks Geoff

  4. brookendratty April 17, 2012 at 12:06 am #

    The Chair of Sherston Parish Council (and I ) were at a meeting of Wessex Water’s Environmental Panel earlier today. You can find out what they are doing on their website http://www.wessexwater.co.uk. There is informatin about their drought plan on this link http://www.wessexwater.co.uk/environment/threecol.aspx?id=444

    The flows in the Upper Bristol Avon are controlled by guages at the Fosseway and St John’s Bridge in Malmesbury. When they reach a level which has been negotiated with the Environment Agency, DEFRA etc over many years it trigger stream support at Luckington and Stanbrodge from the Lower Oolite acquifer (Wessex Water Drinking water is abstracted from the Upper Oolite). The latest Low Flows statement is at http://www.wessexwater.co.uk/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=7280

    Read more on the Malmesbury River Valleys Website http://www.mrvt.org.uk. We are collating information about river flows, quality and wildlife with the assistance of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Malmesbury School,

    You can also track the water levels live on the EA website

    http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/riverlevels/riverstation.aspx?StationId=3035&RegionId=5&AreaId=9&CatchmentId=44

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