River-flow rates in England at lowest point since 2002, data shows

Exclusive: Experts warn drought could be start of three-year cycle with dire impacts on wildlife and environment

An article from the Guardian based on research by Wildlife and Countryside Link

River-flow rates in England have been lower this summer than at any time in the past 21 years, data has shown, and could be much worse next year, with dire impacts on wildlife and the natural environment, conservation experts have warned. 

Analysis since 2002 of England’s groundwater, reservoir levels and river flows – three key indicators for the severity of drought, and for river health – shows that July this year was the worst in that period.

The River Rye in Yorkshire which disappears underground during extreme low flows

River flows this July were lower than normal in 88% of rivers, and reservoir levels stood at about 64% of their capacity, the lowest level in the past two decades. Groundwater was at its fourth lowest level, with about two-thirds of sites showing lower groundwater levels than normal.

he analysis, seen by the Guardian and coordinated by Wildlife and Countryside Link (WCL), based on Environment Agency monthly water situation reports from July in each year, showed that this year has been the worst overall for drought when ranked across the indicators.

Ellie Ward, policy and information coordinator at WCL, said: “Our resilience to drought is not good enough. This puts nature and people at risk of running out of water. We need ambitious, holistic action to build that resilience and to secure a clean and plentiful water supply.”

Read the full article here