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Hello. Welcome to a special edition of Inside Added. It is all about
the drug. Here is what is coming up. -- of the drought. The truth is we
do not have enough water in our rivers for people to drink.
investigate the true story behind our weather. What drought? It has
not stopped raining for the last few weeks! And what is the plan for
tackling England's water shortage? As far as I am aware, there is no
strategic national plan to deal with three dry winters in a row.
will bring you a full five-day forecast and take a look at the
last two Macromedias' rainfall figures and explaining why we are
still in drought. -- the last two I know what you are thinking - it
has been chucking it down, so what is the problem? It is not what is
happening now, but what did not happen two years ago, and those dry
winters have been having an effect By the beginning of April, the
drought had already had a big impact on wildlife. The RSPB at
Otmoor near Oxford had to abandon most of its wet land preserved and
focus on pumping water to just 40 of its 400 hectares. It meant so
calls of the animals providing food dried out. This should be about 30
centimetres deep. This will do strike out on that will be it.
bad is it? I thought I would put a six-inch nail down for fun. This is
the length of a Snape. I put it into the soil to see what it is
like. Normally, you would be pushing it into the mud. You can
see, as you are pushing in, quite a lot of force has gone in Neville
stop as they feed, they stabbed in and out. You can see how deep that
has gone down. Inside an impressive predator fence, there is far more
activity than in the comparatively tiny part where water has been
pumped. Foxes and badgers are the main predators. From the fields
around us, this is where we have moved water into this area. It is
an instant impact. As soon as we put the pop song, shift the water
over the hill, within about a day, the water comes on here. Everyone
commented on the number of birds that moved into the area. We are
confident we can hold this water for longer in this area. If it is
spread out, it will be very shallow and with the evaporation we have
got, it will disappear quickly. Then at the skies opened and
instead of worrying about drought, the scrapes filled and flooding
threatened to wash nests away. Long term, though, the biggest problem
is with our world famous chalk streams. This is the River Kennet,
a classic English chalk stream. But a lack of rain and continued
abstraction of the water has left levels very low and
conservationists are now seriously concerned about its future. The
Kennet, which runs between Marlborough and Reading, has become
a symbol of the drought. The 10 mile stretch of the canal even had
to be closed this winter because of lack of water. Despite the April
rain, some sections of the Kennet are still flooding at well below
normal levels. Two dry winters are part of the problem but campaigners
point out the river also loses millions of litres of water a day,
taken from a borehole at Axford and piped to homes in Swindon. In a
typical year, this would be a nice flowing river and very often, this
would be flooded across the fields. This part of the chalk landscape
used to rely heavily on flooding the meadows to get the spring grass
growing to put the lamb was on. Chalk Africa water is a good
aquifer source to put into the water soil. -- Africa -- aquifer
water. If we are not careful, we will have drained all the chalk
streams dry. Thames Water says it is waiting for the Environment
Agency to finance an agreed pipeline, which will halve the
amount it takes from the Kennet, which it admits is being damaged.
We have to find a balance and it is not true to say we want to pump as
much water as possible. We want to take as little as possible but we
want to make sure we take as much as our customers need. It is not an
option to just turn the tap off at the Axford a borehole. We have to
work up a long-term sustainable solution and that is exactly what
we are doing. The Orange shows that we are right down and have had
between 30 and 49% of average rainfall. Meanwhile, Charlotte
Hitchmough of Action For The River Kennet has been working with a
local secondary school to raise trout. Today, they are going to be
released into the river. It is one way of showing people the
connection between the water in their homes and the rivers on their
doorstep. I never used to think about it but since we started this
project, it has made me think a lot more about the rain drought. It
shocked to beat and it is more serious than I thought it was.
lot of the water we use in our houses comes from the river, so the
drug means we have to use less. do we check the help of the River?
-- the drought. The organisms living in the river are a good
indicator of good, clean, plentiful water. A good score would be about
12 on the abyss of reach. At the top end of the river, we are
struggling to get as score of one. Some of the strictures have had no
water at all through the winter, so the water has just come back into
those bits of river. On the surface, the river looks fine because it has
water, but when you look around, there is no life. It is not just
this river suffering. Our chalk streams are internationally famous
and the rare and most renowned of all are the rivers Test and Itchen,
which draw of the fishermen from around the world. But this year, on
the legendary Bourne, of more than a mile of fishing has been closed.
This is an ultimate place that the connoisseur comes fishing. It has a
wonderful history and where we are standing now should be not just
wide gravel but there should be big tresses of green tweed. You can see
the water here hardly covers the top of your boots. -- or weed. All
other things that eat fish tend to be trapped in the sections of
deeper water. You will have a little gravel ripple and Ben Eddy
perception and another gravelled ripple. It is very easy for mink,
otters, herons and egrets to catch the fish. It is a good year to be a
heron but a bad year to be a trout. The water that makes these rivers
flow comes from deep under the chalk. It is so pure that you do
not need to treat it before you pied it to the customer. It is the
cheapest water met - backwater it you can get. Water companies want
as much of this water as they can because the cost is low. The truth
is that we do not have enough water in our rivers for people to drink
what comes from underneath them. This is my baby. I have been
looking after it since 1994 and it is like a love affair. It is very
sad when you see it looking so sick. Hampshire has a particular problem.
The River Itchen brought the ball to live in cities like Southampton
and Winchester but with ever- growing populations, but demands on
the river are enormous. -- brought people. There is still a question
of whether water is going to come from. There is always talk of a
national grid of water, bringing water through the canal system. If
we move water from Wales, it will destroy it this terrain. We will
not pull icebergs of the English Channel to supply people. At the
end of the day, we are totally dependent in Hampshire on a chalk
water. We have to share that water between us, people, and the
environment. When you turn on your tap, do you know where your water
has come from? No. What is your best bet? A reservoir somewhere.
idea. I would not like to save. It tastes OK, so I am happy. It comes
from their nearest reservoir. water filtration plant. Ruler has
it it comes from the Dolomites or Spain! The point is that water is a
local and renewable resource, unlike oil or gas, which is
imported from all over the world. If you live in Hampshire, you live
within probably a couple of miles away your water comes from. There
was a question of water companies taking responsibility but also
people. This is my river, and I know that every kettle of water I
Phil is a kettle less in this run of. Multiply that by 400,000 and
that is a lot of water. So, two bone dry printers and we are
contemplating a third. What is going on with our weather?
Meteorologist Nik Miller has travelled the length and breadth of
The Lake District is England's wettest place and looking below,
the word drought is the last thing that comes to mind. It is rain rich
land and the reservoirs with billions of litres of water are
also here. With all of this and on an island where it has not stopped
raining for weeks, how come so much of England is in drought? The Met
Office is now looking into what is behind this apparent change in our
climate. The first place they are looking is the jet stream that
carries bring Baring weather fronts across the Atlantic. The jet stream
has tended to be a bit further north. -- reign at Baring. The part
of England that is so short of rain is running into high pressure. They
are not doing the job we want them to do, which is to add a decent
round to rain and top of that the water levels in the aquifers.
are competing with and 84 water. Everything around us has embarked
on its spring growth. You do not get England's green and pleasant
land without it. But while everything is turning green and you
see the reverse starting to fill, what you do not see in some parts
of the country is even more important. Bat is underground. It
is the water underground, not reservoirs, that supplies 75% of
the most populous parts of England. 150 miles south-east of Windermere,
They are using data to create an underground map of Britain.
areas that are in green, it is running up into Lincolnshire,
Yorkshire, and in the south of Britain, around the South East, it
is a really important aquifer. That gets recharged by rainfall in the
winter. We have had a couple of relatively dry winters. Groundwater
levels have remained normal in the north-west but as you move South
East, they have dropped in volume by one third.
To really find out how low stocks are, last week I joined this team
are doing based survey. This is the South Downs. It is
Wallaby try as part of England. -- it is one of the driest parts of
England. We will find out how far we have to go down to find that
water. The aquifer is effectively a
pressurised sponge, full of water. It was tapped by the Victorians.
The water would normally be about 20 metres below ground level.
This is the exciting bit. How far down? It is looking exciting as
promising. I can see a reflection that we are only at about 30 metres.
Before long, we pass the point where we would normally find water
and the camera keeps descending. You are seeing really dry walls. If
there was any Recharge happening, you would see moisture or, at least
on the camera. Even though it has been pouring
with rain, that rained down here has not made a - any difference yet.
It would take weeks, probably months for it to infiltrate, if it
did. But it is not going to because it will be taken up by the plans --
plants. We are coming up to 34.4. How does it compare with how long
it has been before? This is the 5th or 6th driest in records. It is
pretty low. The last major drought was in 1976.
Now we are saying, save water. People were forced to queue in the
streets to get water. This drought is different. It is
not hot and sunny. It has been pouring with rain and we are being
told we could be in doubt until Christmas.
No one is saying of the rain is not making the difference. Of course it
is. We have one of our wettest Aprils. But it still has not
reached where many of us get our quarter, the aquifers. What the
Victorians started with Welles was an expanded to exploit the natural
resources on a much bigger scale. This aquifer is operated by South
East Water. Kevin, that is the precious water.
How low RB aquifers? It is a very serious situation. The aquifers are
very low. The Rezso was Andy rivers are rivers -- the reservoirs and
rivers are high because of the recent rainfall. It is even worse
than 19 Sunday six will stop yes, I think it is worse than 19 Sunday
six. -- 1976. The level of recharges a third
lower than it should be. It seems we are even further from that
soaking rain that has been falling above ground. Down here, it is
winter rain that matters. If we do not get enough next winter, then we
will all be heading into the What of the future? David has been
seeing how the government's water strategy measures against our
This church has stood in this valley in northern Spain for more
than 500 years. I should not be able to be here because this is the
bottom of a reservoir. It is usually submerged under thousands
of tons of water. The reason it is so dry is Spain is going through
its worst drought for 70 years. Forest fires have been raging in
other parts of the country. Look at the waterline. Look how high you
should be. Look how low it is. That is incredible. Can Spain deceit
limbs into an uncomfortable future? The taps in Barcelona recently
almost ran dry. They were forced to ship in supplies from France.
The residents have had to completely change their attitude
towards water. Is incredible that something as simple as water had to
be transported in tankers into Barcelona. What was that like?
is a first, as far as I know. It never had to be carried through on
a massive scale but before that, there was a sensation that it was
not going to be easy. People would have to have water rations.
have we were adapted your lifestyle? -- you. We took
consciousness of how precious water The children talk about about it a
school. -- talk about it a lot at school. Simple measures, turn off
taps and teaching water conservation in schools, Barcelona
is now well on its way to becoming one of the world's leading cities
on saving water. People use just 107 litres per day. That compares
to 150 in the UK. They have also tried using water
from showers to flush toilets. And recycling the water in it the
famous fountains. They had experienced in Barcelona
forced everyone to change the way they think about water -- that
experience. This place was the answer. They
have built this massive plant. It is the largest in Europe. By taking
sea water from the Mediterranean, the plant can produce 180 million
litres of fresh water every day. But that is still only a 5th of the
city's needs. It is used as a stop gap.
TRANSLATION: The system is much more secure because of this plant
but this is not total security. It allows us time to function between
periods of rain. If there is a drought, the plant can produce more.
After building Europe's first such plant 40 years ago, Spain is now a
world leader in the technology but it is not a perfect solution. The
war to produce year is very expensive and the Barcelona plant
uses enough energy to power a small town -- the water here.
Unlike Spain, this is where we use most of ours, generating a trustee
in power stations. Most of the rest, around 40 %, is used in homes and
gardens. But the trouble is, we used to much. More than any other
developed countries. Is turning salt water into fresh water the
answer? We have one plant near London and that will be important.
I think be likelihood of are seeing more plants in England is quite
high. But you do not want to be relying on it as it is very
expensive and produces a lot of carbon. This is very picturesque.
Water gets moved down. It is -- is it an option for water can best
companies to transfer water from different parts of the country?
Victorians started doing that and it underpins the way that we manage
water resources now. In the future, war -- moving water around even
more, greater connectivity within the country and the networks, it
will be part of the answer but not the entire answer. That is the new
buzz word, connectivity. If someone is generating electricity, you do
not get blackouts another part of the country. Why should we have
drought conditions or a Citroen's in one part of the country and not
about? If you bring water from the north
to the south, you can have droughts in the North of England as well.
You do not want to rely on moving water around the country
exclusively. What is going to happen, if we have a third dry
winter? Difficult to say. But we would be a very bad place.
We have not worked out the consequences. But you would be
expecting measures to try and to serve water, it would be dramatic.
-- conserve water. As far as I am aware, there is no strategic
national plan to deal worth three dry winters in a row. I would like
to be proven wrong. I would like to think we have a plan. I do not know
of one. I think the plan is based on hope that it rains. It is a very
poor strategy. Is there a strategy or not?
Yes, because we have to have contingency plans. Drought is a
natural phenomenon and can-can -- can take place at any time. What we
are putting in place on measures in -- to deal with that. Temporary
restrictions on non-essential uses of water in a domestic setting.
That is something we plan to do in order to conserve water and it
shall we do not have to move to more stringent restrictions. --
ensure. We need to encourage the water companies to reduce leakage
and the government has made that reedy clear. Should targets be more
stringent? It is the economic regulator that
sets these targets. It believes they are a challenge to the
industry to meet. The government is also pushing water companies to do
more to connect up supplies across the country.
When you go to a dry country and you explain to them but in the UK,
we used drinking water for everything, we flush the toilet,
wash clothes, they are sometimes quite surprised by that. Can you
guarantee that if we could a third try winter, we will not have water
rationing? -- dry. It is far too early to tell yet whether we will
have the wet winter of what the -- that we do need. If we have another
dry winter, it becomes more likely that we will have to take action.
It may sound extraordinary but as he had discovered in Spain, the
world is changing. Climate change and an expanding population mean
demand for water is set to increase and even if it does rain this
winter, pretty soon, we will all have to think about drinking water
as the pressures and scarce natural What has been happening closer to
home? We are officially in drought. How
Let's take a look at the rainfall figures for the last couple of
years. Only three months were wetter than average. 19 months were
drier than average. That did not help.
In it the South, in any 12 a month period, the long-term average
suggests we should see 777 mm. But we only received about 557 mm. That
is painfully below average. April was pretty wet everywhere.
The wet as place was England. It was very impressive. It was
around to wonder quarter times what we would normally see in the month
of April. --2.25. This suggests the average rainfall. Anything below
that is below average. You can see quite a few below average. People
was very impressive in terms of rainfall. It was the wettest April
for well over a century but we are still in drought because it was the
driest 18th month -- 18 months period for over 90 years in the
south. There is rain in the forecast. Some
heavily -- heavy and thundery downpours tonight and more on
Saturday, but it is not enough. We need an exceptionally wet winter.