Tuesday, 23 November 2010

How low can it go?

WARNING: You are about to view the sad recording of some unscientifically sampled statistics...

Pictures and graphs for November 2010, reinforcing the fact that despite the horrible floods in Cornwall and concern at the raised river levels elsewhere in the UK this month, the seasonal flow of the River Kennet reflects a more constant geological delivery of water... 

It's not really paddling territory, but the gauged levels at Eddington (Hungerford) give an indication of inflow from the upper reach of the River Kennet before it is artificially corrupted by confluence with the water provided by the interwoven Kennet and Avon Canal beyond Kintbury on the middle reach.  Despite the fact that it was spotting with rain when this picture was taken (06 November 2010), and the subsequent grey days and occasional precipitation that followed in November, the chalk downs have clearly been quenching their aquifer's thirst after a dry Summer and Autumn in the central south of England.

The river level gauge at Eddington.  The typical range is between 0.39m and 0.8m. Between 05 and 23 November 2010 a random sampling of 16 reported levels at various times on various days showed an average level of only 0.38m.  The previous image relates to a gauge measurement of 0.37m (i.e. below the minimum norm).

An easy way to check the level of the Kennet Navigation through Newbury is to check the boarding around the midstream stanchion of Newbury's 'fishbone' bridge, shown here at around 4.97m. If paddling on the K&A minimum levels are maintained for narrow boat passage, but low levels will mean no play downstream at the sluice overflow below the A339 road bridge.

The river level gauge at Newbury.  The typical range is only between 4.94m and 5.16m. Between 05 and 23 November 2010 a random sampling of 22 reported levels at various times on various days showed an average level of only 4.96m (although this figure is slightly distorted by a reading of a 10cm drop yesterday; maybe someone left a lock open).

The gauging station at Theale (Barbel Bar), which is located towards the end of Arrowhead Road.  The old carpet changing mat at the back of the station disappeared this year - if you're currently redecorating...

Barbel Bar at a low flow of c.0.27m...

...Note the small outflow pipe hole on the far bank wall that is visible at such a low level.

The get-out is river left just below the weir wall, and at this low level looks like this. 

Just in case you doubt the opportunity for training at the mighty Barbel Bar at better flows.

The river level gauge at Theale (Barbel Bar). The typical range is between 0.23m and 0.83m. Between 05 and 20 November 2010 a random sampling of 21 reported levels showed an average level of only 0.30m.

Time for some rain.