Rivers no longer flowing ‘normally’ and reservoir levels at lowest after heatwave

Rivers no longer flowing ‘normally’ and reservoir levels at lowest after heatwave
Water levels in reservoirs are at their lowest levels since July 1995

River levels across England are unusually low while reservoir levels have fallen to their lowest more than two decades following weeks of unusually dry weather.

The Environment Agency said river flow at 92 per cent of sites monitored were below normal last week.

River levels had decreased at all but two of the sites between 3 August to 9 August, while 29 per cent were classed as below normal, 31 per cent were notably low, while 29 per cent were exceptionally low for this time of year.

In comparison, around a quarter of sites across England were classed as “exceptionally low” in July.

The rivers most affected included the Yare in Norfolk (30 per cent), the Wye in Gloucestershire (31 per cent), the Swale in North Yorkshire (32 per cent), and the Cam in Cambridgeshire (36 per cent).

The level of the Great Ouse at Denver, Norfolk has fallen to just five per cent of the long-term average – the lowest July figure for this site since records began in 1970.

Water in reservoirs for England were at 65 per cent of total capacity at the end of July – their lowest level at that point in the calendar year since 1995.

The majority of reservoirs were now classed as exceptionally low, with Ardingly and Hanningfield reservoirs recording the largest decreases at 21 per cent, according to figures.

Water levels are lowest at Colliford reservoir in Cornwall, which is only 43 per cent full, Stithians reservoir in Cornwall at 44 per cent, and Derwent Valley reservoirs in Derbyshire, whic is 45 per cent full.

The Wimbleball reservoir is at 49 per cent capacity, as is the Pennines group of reservoirs.

Only four reservoir or reservoir groups are at normal capacity, with Haweswater and Thirlmere in Cumbria at 60 per cent, the Teesdale group in north-east England at 72 per cent, Abberton in Essex at 77 per cent, and the Lower Lee group in Hertfordshire and north London at 88 per cent.