Sunday, September 01, 2013

Reservoir holdings after a dry summer

Much as we like to grumble about our British weather, we have to grudgingly admit that this summer has been pretty good. Although some places did get heavy rainstorms in July we were out cruising for several weeks in June and July and only used our raincoats once, and August has been lovely in our half of the country.  So does this mean that we are due for another canal water shortage like two years ago?  In 2011 the problem was at its worst in October, when reservoirs were down to their last 20 or 30 percent.  Of course we don’t have the October figures for 2013 yet but I’ve been having a look at the figures for this summer and comparing them with the previous two years.

Let’s look at three graphs showing the summer change in reservoir levels for the last three years.  I’ve chosen the Grand Union and the Oxford canals for reasons of pure self interest as that’s where we do much of our cruising.

Here’s what happened between May and August in 2011. A steady and quite steep drop in levels and this was to get worse over the succeeding two months. he scale up the left hand side is in percentage full of the reservoirs



The last year, 2012, if you remember we had a very wet spring and a pretty mixed summer giving this chart in which the rain filled up all the reservoirs again.


So how have we done this year? Are we in for a repeat of 2011?  Not if this chart is anything to go by.


Good news so far.  It’s interesting to speculate as to why this years levels are better than 2011. Maybe it hasn’t been quite so dry, or maybe CRT have got better at saving water, or  a bit of both most probably.  Whatever the reason, we can still go out boating with a clear conscience.  except that is for the Leeds and Liverpool where according the CRT reservoir watch report, reservoir holdings are down to 52% and falling, so our poor friends up that way are having to endure some restrictions to lock usage.  Funny, we were always told it was habitually rainy up that way.

It’ll be interesting when we get the October figures.  In the meantime I’ll have to find something else to write about.

1 comment:

Val Poore said...

This is very interesting Neil. I would have thought this year would be drier since we've had a better than average summer in Europe!