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

As parts of the UK experience the driest conditions since the 1976 drought, experts have warned that the source of the River Thames has dried up for the first time on record.

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

However, after a continuous spell of dry weather, it is now over five miles downriver near Somerford Keynes.

Worryingly, the office met warned of ‘very little significant rain’ on the horizon – with conditions now so extreme that a garden hose ban affecting one million people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight will come into effect at 5 p.m. today.

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester. Pictured: The dry bed 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 spell of dry weather, it is now over five miles downriver near Somerford Keynes.

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

UK garden hose ban comes into force today

A garden hose ban affecting one million people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight comes into effect at 5pm today.

Southern Water begins the ‘temporary use ban’ today – a week before South East Water restrictions start 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 from August 19 – with the company blaming the driest conditions since the 1976 drought.

Talk to The GuardianDr Rob Collins, Director of Policy and Science at the Rivers Trust, explained: “Following prolonged dry weather, the source of the River Thames in Gloucestershire has dried up, with low flow now barely noticeable at over 5 miles downstream (at Somerford Keynes).

“Under our changing climate, we can anticipate the intensification of the frequency and severity of these periods of drought and water scarcity, with increasing competition for a dwindling resource and devastating impacts on aquatic life.”

The Met Office has warned there is ‘very little significant rain’ on the horizon for parched parts of England as temperatures are expected to climb into the 30s next week.

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

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

“Many parts of the UK, particularly the south, will experience temperatures 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 Reservoir in West Sussex, owned and managed by South East Water, pictured yesterday

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

Parched ground surrounding the Burley Cricket Club ground in the New Forest yesterday, ahead of a garden hose ban in Hampshire

Parched ground surrounding the Burley Cricket Club ground in the New Forest yesterday, ahead of a garden hose ban in Hampshire

“As the high pressure builds, there is very little significant rain in the forecast, particularly in parts of southern England, which have seen very dry conditions over the past month.

“Elsewhere in the UK, such as northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, rainy weather fronts will make limited headway against high pressure, bringing rain to areas in the north west. from the United Kingdom.”

A garden hose ban affecting one million people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight comes into effect at 5pm today.

Southern Water begins the ‘temporary use ban’ today – a week before South East Water restrictions start 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 from August 19 – with the company blaming the driest conditions since the 1976 drought.

Some 17million more people in other parts of England could soon be hit with further bans after Thames Water and South West Water both warned they may soon have to impose restrictions – which would affect 15million customers in London and the Thames Valley, and around two million in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

This would mean a total of 20.5 million people could be affected by water use restrictions in England. As it stands, the number of people banned from today will be 1.1 million, which will increase to 3.3 million next Friday.

The temporary ban on Welsh Water, announced yesterday, means customers in affected areas will not be allowed to water their plants, wash their cars or clean windows with a hose. Violators could face 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 reassures “there are indications of a return to more changeable conditions from around mid-August”.

Q&A: Where are the garden hose bans and what could happen if I break one?

Where were watering bans introduced?

  • Manx Water: Isle of Man, since last Friday
  • South Water: Hampshire and Isle of Wight, from today
  • Southeast Water: Kent and Sussex, from next Friday
  • Welsh water: Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire, from August 19

What are the rules?

Once the ban takes effect, you will be prohibited from using a garden hose or sprinkler to water your garden, clean your car or boat, fill a swimming pool or paddling pool or ornamental pond. Pressure washing a deck is also prohibited. But the use of watering cans is allowed.

Who is exempt?

People with disabilities – who have a blue badge – are exempt from watering their garden. The same goes for those who water an area for a national or international sporting event.

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

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

What happens if I break the ban?

You could be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000 in court if found guilty.