Source of the Thames DRIES UP for the first time, experts warn

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With parts of the UK experiencing the driest conditions since the 1976 drought, experts have warned that the source of the River Thames has dried up for the first time in history.

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester, according to The Rivers Trust.

However, after a prolonged period of dry weather, it is now more than five miles downstream, near Somerford Keynes.

Worryingly, the Met Office has warned of ‘very little meaningful rain’ on the horizon – with conditions now so extreme that a ban on garden hoses for a million people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight comes into effect at 5pm today.

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester.  Pictured: The dried up bed of the River Thames at Kemble in Gloucestershire

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester. Pictured: The dried up bed of the River Thames at Kemble in Gloucestershire

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester, according to The Rivers Trust.  However, after a sustained period of dry weather it is now more than five miles downstream, near Somerford Keynes

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester, according to The Rivers Trust.  However, after a sustained period of dry weather it is now more than five miles downstream, near Somerford Keynes

The source of the river was originally just outside Cirencester, according to The Rivers Trust. However, after a sustained period of dry weather it is now more than five miles downstream, near Somerford Keynes

The UK garden hose ban comes into effect today

A ban on garden hoses affecting a million people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight goes into effect today at 5pm.

Southern Water begins the ‘temporary use ban’ today – a week before South East Water restrictions on Kent and Sussex begin, affecting 2.2 million people. The 85,000 people on the Isle of Man have been banned since last Friday.

Now Welsh Water has also announced restrictions on 200,000 customers in Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire from August 19 – blaming the driest conditions since the 1976 drought.

Speak with the guardexplained Dr. Rob Collins, Director of Policy and Science at The Rivers Trust, said: ‘After the prolonged dry weather, the source of the Thames in Gloucestershire has dried up, with a weak current now visible only about 5 miles downstream (in Somerford Keynes).

“Under our changing climate, we can anticipate the frequency and severity of such periods of drought and water scarcity to intensify, with increasing competition for a dwindling resource and devastating impacts on aquatic life.”

The Met Office has warned there is ‘very little significant rain’ on the horizon for England’s parched regions as temperatures rise to 30 degrees next week.

While it could mean another heat wave — when there are above-average temperatures for three days or more — conditions will likely be well below the 40C (104F) seen in some places last month.

Steve Willington, the Met Office’s chief forecaster, said: ‘We could see parts of the UK hit by heat wave conditions if above-average temperatures persist for three days or more.

“In many parts of the UK, especially in the south, temperatures will be several degrees higher than average, but these values ​​will likely be well below the record temperatures we saw in mid-July.

Reduced water levels at Ardingly Reservoir in West Sussex owned and operated by South East Water, pictured yesterday

Reduced water levels at Ardingly Reservoir in West Sussex owned and operated by South East Water, pictured yesterday

Reduced water levels at Ardingly Reservoir in West Sussex owned and operated by South East Water, pictured yesterday

Parched ground around Burley Cricket Club ground in the New Forest yesterday, ahead of a garden hose ban in Hampshire

Parched ground around Burley Cricket Club ground in the New Forest yesterday, ahead of a garden hose ban in Hampshire

Parched ground around Burley Cricket Club ground in the New Forest yesterday, ahead of a garden hose ban in Hampshire

“As high pressure builds, little significant rain is forecast, especially in those areas of southern England where conditions were very dry last month.

“Elsewhere in the UK, such as Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, rain-bearing weather fronts will make limited progress against the high pressure, bringing some rain to the UK’s northwest.”

A ban on garden hoses affecting a million people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight goes into effect today at 5pm.

Southern Water begins the ‘temporary use ban’ today – a week before South East Water restrictions on Kent and Sussex begin, affecting 2.2 million people. The 85,000 people on the Isle of Man have been banned since last Friday.

Now Welsh Water has also announced restrictions on 200,000 customers in Pembrokeshire and a small part of Carmarthenshire from August 19 – blaming the driest conditions since the 1976 drought.

Another 17 million people in other parts of England could soon be hit by further bans after Thames Water and South West Water both warned they would soon have to introduce restrictions – affecting 15 million customers in London and the Thames Valley, and around two million in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

This would mean that a total of 20.5 million people could face restrictions on water use in England. As it stands, the number of people banned will reach 1.1 million as of today, rising to 3.3 million by next Friday.

Welsh Water’s temporary ban, announced yesterday, means customers in affected areas will not be allowed to water their plants, wash their cars or clean windows with a garden hose. Violators of the rules can be fined up to £1,000.

The Met Office says it’s too early to know how long the heat wave will last.

However, it reassures: “There is evidence of a return to more volatile conditions from about mid-August.”

Q&A: Where are snake bans and what can happen if I break one?

Where were hose bans introduced?

  • Manx Water: Isle of Man, from last Friday
  • Southern Water: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, starting today
  • South East Water: Kent and Sussex, starting this Friday
  • Welsh Water: Pembrokeshire and small part of Carmarthenshire, from August 19th

What are the rules?

Once the ban is in effect, you will no longer be allowed to use a garden hose or sprinkler to water your garden, clean your car or boat, fill a swimming or paddling pool or an ornamental pond. Washing a terrace under high pressure is also prohibited. But the use of watering cans is allowed.

Who is exempt?

Disabled people – who have a blue badge – are exempt from watering their garden. So are those who spray an area for a national or international sporting event.

People who water newly laid turf and newly purchased plants can apply for an exemption.

Commercial car washes and professional window cleaners are not covered by the ban.

What happens if I violate the ban?

You could be prosecuted and subject to a fine of up to £1,000 in the courts if found guilty.

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