So….about that drought

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.

3 thoughts on “So….about that drought”

  1. Did you hear that lady on Radio 4 who said “We not out of the woods yet, people still need to conserve water. There is not need to take a 30 minute shower.” That was just 4 days ago…the meadows by our house had already flooded and the streams were obviously higher. I say grr to her and if she wants to really learn about droughts move to the Nevada desert!

    I wonder how deep those underground stores are because when I take Seriph to the park just stepping on the grass is like walking on sponges that have been soaked in water. Not sure about everyone else but I would call that saturated.

    Oh well, I guess I’m just used to 355 days of sunshine. The first winter we were here we saw the same kind of ‘flooding’. The hard part is that Oxford is meant to stop flooding down river. Port Meadow is the main flood zone and it used to be much bigger…I hope the people down river are ok.

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