Back in March, Thames Water, along with other water companies in the UK, issued a “hosepipe ban”, barring it’s customers from using their hose to water their gardens (lawns) and wash their cars etc. This came at the tail end of the driest March in 59 years, and followed two uncharacteristically dry winters. The problem is that the groundwater stores are much too low, so the water companies are really trying to get people to do their part. Never mind the fact that England isn’t that big, or that it is an island, they cannot manage their water.
Fast forward to April.
Above is the path that I take to and from work everyday. I laughed out loud at the six inches of standing water that greeted me as I came around the corner on my bike. Each stroke of the pedals put my foot underwater.
This is the view of one of the bridges that I cross just after the path mentioned above. I would say the water levels here are very near two feet higher than they were last month. The nearby University Parks and other common walking grounds are definitely flooded. Also, definitely the strangest drought I have ever been a part of.
Here are some quotes from official spokespeople relating to the hosepipe ban:
“We are well aware of the irony that heavy rain set in after the hosepipe ban was announced. In fact, it hasn’t really stopped raining since we and six other companies imposed hosepipe bans on 5 April “
“The irony of talking about a drought at the end of the wettest April on record is not lost on us”
Indeed this past April has been the wettest on record since they started keeping records 109 years ago. So although the surface is obviously saturated with water, the problem of low groundwater supplies remains. This is especially true for the deeper aquifers. Plus, the trees and plants are drinking up as much water as they can, so even less water makes its way down to refill the wells. The good news for the underwater stores is that the temperature is still biting cold for May so not much water is evaporating, increasing the chance of replenishment.
All I know is that I got hosed riding my bike in and out of work for the past month and am ready for spring and some sun to show up. 22 of the past 24 months of lower than average rainfall have spoiled me to believe that the weather here isn’t so bad. I guess I was wrong.