Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Help! Water Shortage! Send Supplies Now!
"Phew whot a scorcher!"
My clever digital weather station recorded a maximum temperature of 37. 4 Celsius last Wednesday afternoon or 99.32 Fantigrade according to the Reverend Richard Cole's mother. Heat remained oppressive until dusk for almost a week and fishing has been hard as a result. The first and the last few hours have seen fish feed a little but for the bit inbetween they have tucked themselves away and concentrated on just getting through the day. The water temperature is approaching twenty degrees celsius (68 degrees Fantigrade Mrs Cole) and is a few degrees higher further down the river. And while a cyprinid would be living it large and knocking back the doughnuts, a salmonid's struggles increase for each celsius the water temperature climbs beyond eighteen degrees as the water loses its capacity to hold onto oxygen. Thunder storms in such conditions can be devastating as low air pressure reduces further the ability of a body of water to hold onto its oxygen.
The same private water company decreed that there would be no shortage of water this summer, press on regardless with your extravagant use of the eau and, yes, there had been adequate aquifer replenishment during the winter just past.
It is a bit late in the day now to start preserving groundwater stocks. The signs were there at Christmas, but with AGMs pending and a dividend to be paid this sort of thing sort of thing doesn't go down too well, maybe next month, so don't make too much of a fuss about it and fingers crossed for rain.
and hey OFWAT and the Environment Agency feel free to call them to book on the impact of over abstraction at some point.
A position that was picked up by Paxo on Radio 4 (I know, I know) one morning this week when he echoed my sentiments regarding their exploitation of a natural resource for financial gain to the detriment of the aquatic environment. Richard Benyon was also in on the conversation and while he concurred with Paxo's sentiments his declaration that a few more reservoirs were the answer demonstrated a limited grasp of the situation he is faced with.
You might want to think about this a little longer Richard, and the way we use our groundwater in this parched alley of Albion and I shall be writing to you on the matter in due course.
Paxo by the way, top banana, I don't know if I've ever mentioned it (I have, I have ) but we once shared a petri dish on an invertebrate sampling course, and I feel a bond was made.
Further evidence if further evidence were needed that the aquifers in the south east of England are slowly being trashed.
They used to run year round and held fish.
Were we still in the milling business there would be a shortage of flour this year.
And then there's the borehole, one here and one at the cricket ground. No fancy graphs, or measuring equipment required. just take the cap off and shine a torch down. The groundwater level is very low and has been since the middle of last summer.
Here ends the case for the impact of over abstraction on the chalk stream environment.
Let me put that another way,
There is no lighter note where chalk stream water levels are concerned.
The groundwater resource in the South East of England is being over exploited. There is a gamble being played that aquifers are replenished each winter at a rate that will allow a certain level of abstraction.
This winter we once again lost that gamble,
the signs were obvious early in the year when quiet warnings should have been issued over the use of water instead of peddling the line that groundwater levels were OK when it was clear to many that they were not,
unless the bar for what's considered OK for groundwater levels has been conveniently lowered.
Over seventy percent of the planet's groundwater fed rivers (chalk streams) are in the UK. Over abstraction is impacting upon a unique aquatic environment and if such a thing were to occur in another country we would be quick to condemn it as corrupt.
looking up and not down,
Voles, ( I know they don't fly, but I do find them very soothing)
The Wind in the Willows feel to the morning continued as this Mole broke cover just outside the fishing hut, two days before a family of stoats were seen to run across the bridge and for several days we did have a gentle zephyr that did indeed disturb the willows. There was also a toad unfortunately flattened on the road.
There are also many damsel flies, butterflies and Moths but I don't think they made the cut in Kenneth Grahame's aquatic opus.