As you will be aware, the rainfall last autumn and winter was very low. This rainfall is critical to the recharge of groundwater-fed chalk streams. This left the upper River Ivel in a precarious position coming into 2022. Spring and summer rainfall has also been very low, and we are officially in a “prolonged dry period” according to The Environment Agency. The head spring of the river only flowed for about 8 weeks, in March and April. Indeed, ‘’flow’’ is a very generous description – ‘’seeped’’ is more accurate.
It should, and historically did, flow strongly all year round. Revivel commissioned a report from John Lawson whose analysis confirms that under natural flow regime, flow would have been perennial. The flow ceased at the head spring at the end of April and the river has been progressively drying up since then. Flow through the culvert at Ivel Springs Nature Reserve stopped at the end of June, and mid-August there was no flow at the Iron Bridge in Radwell Meadows. The southernmost springs in Radwell Meadows have also stopped flowing and we can expect this trend to continue given the forecast of hot and dry weather.
Unbelievably, Affinity Water are showing no signs of implementing a hosepipe ban and clearly put the freedom of people to use hoses, sprinklers, and pressure washers above the health of a globally rare chalk stream. If you are as outraged by this as we are, we suggest you let them, and your local MP know your feelings on a regular basis until the situation improves.
Affinity Water- Affinity Water, Tamblin Way, Hatfield, AL10 9EZ
Oliver Heald – Oliver.email@example.com