Will there be a drought this year?

Will there be a drought this year?

Who knows, but at least I can report a good level of water in the Marlborough downs chalk aquifers. With dryish winters and even drier Springs of late, we often approach Summer with the chalk streams already on the low side. Once we reach April, most of the rain is lost through plant transpiration or leaf cover and ultimately with evaporation it never really gets to seep down into the groundwater. However, this March was very wet and the rains extending into April have pushed the River Kennet upstream of Marlborough over its banks and into the surrounding water meadows.

Here the river is really just a winterbourne from Avebury to Clatford but could continue to flow until late July at this rate.  We won’t get beavers holding back the water but do have the marvellous and very pretty ranunculus or water crowfoot slowing down the stream and providing a haven for insects. You can see in the picture below how it follows the main stream, everything to the sides is flood water.

Today, with a brisk North Westerly and constant showers it was providing enough fly life overhead for the first house martins of the year and within its leaves wagtails, moorhen, mallard and gadwall. Take away the water, you take away the crowfoot, the birds go elsewhere and you are left with sheep.

 


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