The source of the Thames dries up for the first time, experts warn

With parts of the UK experiencing the driest conditions from the 1976 drought, experts have warned that the source of the River Thames has dried up for the first time ever recorded.

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester, according to The Rivers Trust.

However, after a continuous period of dry weather, it is now more than five miles downstream, near Somerford Keynes.

Worryingly, the Met Office has warned of “very little rain” on the horizon, with conditions now so extreme that a hose ban affecting one million people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will come in. force at 5pm today.

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester. Pictured: The drained riverbed of the River Thames at Kemble in Gloucestershire

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester, according to The Rivers Trust.  However, after a continuous period of dry weather, it is now more than five miles downstream, near Somerford Keynes.

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester, according to The Rivers Trust. However, after a continuous period of dry weather, it is now more than five miles downstream, near Somerford Keynes.

Hose bans come into effect today in the UK

A hose ban affecting one million people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight takes effect today at 5pm.

Southern Water begins its “temporary use ban” today, a week before the start of south east water restrictions for Kent and Sussex, covering 2.2 million people. The 85,000 people on the Isle of Man have been banned since last Friday.

Now, Welsh Water has also announced restrictions for 200,000 customers in Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire since August 19, with the company blaming the drier conditions from the 1976 drought.

Speaking to The Guardian, Dr Rob Collins, director of politics and science at The Rivers Trust, explained: “As a result of the prolonged dry climate, the source of the Thames in Gloucestershire has dried up, with a weak flow now barely discernible more 5 miles downstream (to Somerford Keynes).

“Under our climate change, we can predict that the frequency and severity of such periods of drought and water scarcity will intensify, with increasing competition for a dwindling resource and devastating impacts on aquatic life.”

The Met Office warned that there is “very little significant rain” on the horizon for England’s arid areas as temperatures are set to soar as high as 30 degrees next week.

While it could mean another heat wave – when there are above-average temperatures for three days or more – conditions are likely to be well below the 40 ° C (104 ° F) seen in some places last month. .

Met Office forecaster Steve Willington said: “We could see parts of the UK enter heatwave conditions if above average temperatures last for three days or more.

“Many areas of the UK, particularly the south, will experience temperatures of several degrees above average, but these values ​​are likely to be well below the record temperatures we saw in mid-July.

Reduced water levels at Ardingly Basin in West Sussex, owned and operated by South East Water, pictured yesterday

Reduced water levels at Ardingly Basin in West Sussex, owned and operated by South East Water, pictured yesterday

Arid ground surrounding Burley Cricket Club pitch in the New Forest yesterday, ahead of the Hampshire ban on hoses

Arid ground surrounding Burley Cricket Club pitch in the New Forest yesterday, ahead of the Hampshire ban on hoses

“As the high pressure rises, forecasts predict significant low rainfall, especially in those areas in southern England, which experienced very dry conditions last month.

“Elsewhere in the UK, such as in Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, rainy weather fronts will make limited progress against high pressure, bringing some rain to the north-western parts of the UK.”

A hose ban affecting one million people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight takes effect today at 5pm.

Southern Water begins its “temporary use ban” today, a week before the start of south east water restrictions for Kent and Sussex, covering 2.2 million people. The 85,000 people on the Isle of Man have been banned since last Friday.

Now, Welsh Water has also announced restrictions for 200,000 customers in Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire since August 19, with the company blaming the drier conditions from the 1976 drought.

Around 17 million more people in other parts of England may soon be affected by further bans after Thames Water and South West Water both warned they may soon need to introduce restrictions, which would affect 15 million customers in London and the Valley of the River. River Thames and around two million in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

This would mean that a total of 20.5 million people could be affected by the restrictions on water use in England. As things stand, the number of people who have been banned as of today will stand at 1.1 million, rising to 3.3 million next Friday.

The temporary ban on Welsh Water, announced yesterday, will mean that customers in the affected areas will not be able to water their plants, wash their cars or clean windows using a hose. Violators could be subject to a fine of up to £ 1,000.

The Met Office says it is still too early to know how long the heat wave will last.

However, he reassured “there are indications of a return to more changing conditions from around mid-August”.

Questions and Answers: Where are the hose bans and what could happen if one breaks?

Where have the bans on hoses been introduced?

  • Manx water: Isle of Man, since last Friday
  • Southern water: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, starting today
  • Southeast water: Kent and Sussex, starting next Friday
  • Welsh water: Pembrokeshire and small parts of Carmarthenshire, from 19th August

What are the rules?

Once the ban is in place, you will not be allowed to use a hose or sprinkler to water your yard, clean your car or boat, fill a swimming pool or ornamental pond. Pressure washing of a patio is also prohibited. But the use of watering cans is allowed.

Who is exempt?

Disabled people – with a blue badge – are exempt from irrigating their garden. So are the ones who water an area for a national or international sporting event.

People who water freshly laid grass and newly purchased plants can apply for exemptions.

Commercial car washes and professional window washers are not affected by the ban.

What happens if I break the ban?

You could be prosecuted and punished with a fine of up to £ 1,000 in the courts if found guilty.