Saturday, 17 September 2011

Low level riverine Kennet conditions persist

Having been out of the UK for most of August I was frequently told on my return how miserable the weather had been.  However, the CEH Hydrological summary for August states that

"in parts of southern Britain flows in index rivers were notably low and accumulated runoff totals over the last six months are depressed in most central and southern catchments. In rainfall terms, the drought has substantially decreased in spatial extent since the spring but with the bulk of the summer rainfall accounted for by evaporation losses, a wet autumn is required to generate a sustained seasonal recovery in the depressed runoff and, particularly, recharge rates across the drought-affected areas."

It continues that "Some southern spring-fed rivers have registered 16 successive months with below average flows and further evidence of the decline in baseflows is provided by the early cessation of flows in some winterbournes (e.g. the Till in Wiltshire)."

The River Kennet proves the point well, and Barbel Bar is currently showing even lower levels than when last reported in June.
The Environment Agency's Kennet gauging station at Barbel Bar is currently showing a river level of 0.23m. The typical river level range for this location is between 0.23m and 0.83m.

I've also been meaning to try out Aldershot Water as a route to access the river between Chamberhouse Mill and Brimpton Mill (rather than walking down through the nettles along the footpath alongside this short watercourse), but that doesn't look like happening any time soon.

Aldershot Water where it enters the River Kennet, connecting from the Kennet Navigation...

...but current levels are not for paddlers who like the bottom of their boats.