2019 – October Observations

Hopefully, no regular readers of these notes expected to see a river flowing through the valley below Amersham following the recent showers. However, it is perhaps a little disappointing that the groundwater measurements taken last Wednesday showed a further average drop of over 0.3m during September. Also, there is still a dry bed past the Jaguar garage in Amersham. The fact that the largest September rainfall since 2008 had so far failed to make an impact shows how dry was the ground after some three years below average 12 month totals – formally described by the Environment Agency as a drought. Still, maybe it will have prepared the way for the winter recharge to come.

On the other hand, the various graphs on our website show the levels are not unique. Significantly lower levels at end of September were observed in 1992, 1997, 2006 and similar in 2017.

Though not a fashionable thought at present, I do just wonder whether the very bad but possibly “less bad” situation now, compared with the 1990’s, might reflect the welcome reductions in abstraction that have been secured in recent years……………but do we also infer that the apparently increasing frequency of “bad” readings reflects global warming?? Whatever the answers, the papers from Ofwat, the Environment Agency, Thames Water and Affinity Water presented at the recent Chiltern Society Forum on Chalk streams all indicate a renewed determination to make further reductions in abstraction and to nurse our chalk streams back to health.

It is also encouraging to see political momentum slowly building towards the inevitable construction of major infrastructure in the form of reservoir storage and/or transfer of water from other parts of the country into the high demand, low rainfall South~East. Other long-term strategies must include new sustainability requirements within building regulations.

Meanwhile, we can probably expect some flow downstream of Amersham to re-appear in the next month or two. After all this time, there will be plenty to do to encourage it on its way so we should dust off our kit and set about a work party or two before Christmas. Please let me know if you can join us for any or all of:
09.30 – 12.30 on Saturday 26th October
13.30 – 16.00 on Wednesday 30th October
10.00 – 12.30 on Wednesday 27th November
09.30 – 12.30 on Saturday 30th November
and, as usual, I’ll send details to those I hear from. Please let me know your wader size, if I don’t have it already.

Perhaps more enticing for some will be the thought of our twelfth annual dinner. First off, let’s see how many can make Wednesday 11th December from 7.30pm. If you would have liked to come but can’t do the Wednesday, let me know if the Monday or Thursday that week would work, and we’ll go with a majority. RSVP ASAP11

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