It may feel like it rains a lot in the UK, but did you know that our capital city gets less rain each year than Rome, Istanbul and even sunny Sydney?
The latest news on average rainfall and groundwater levels in the Thames area
In July, we saw below average rainfall in the Thames Region. At 45.5 mm, it was only 78% of the long term average (LTA).
On 31 July, the Thames Regional Soil Moisture Deficit (SMD) total was 99mm, indicating that our soil is slightly drier than expected for this time of year.
Groundwater levels in the UK were below average during July. Significant groundwater recharge will not begin until the SMD reduces, usually late autumn/winter.
Average rainfall in the Thames area
Check out our graph to see average rainfall in our region for this year so far:
Where water comes from
We rely on rain to maintain groundwater levels in our region.
Groundwater is the water that soaks into our natural underground reservoirs called aquifers. These supply up to 30% of the water we use every day across London and the Thames Valley. But that’s not all our aquifers do – they also help to keep our rivers flowing, which is where the remaining 70% of our water supply comes from.
River flow in South East England
In July 2019, many of our rivers experienced below average river flows, meaning that there was less water in our rivers than expected for the time of year.
The Teddington Target Flow (TTF) was 700 Ml/d during July. The TTF is the minimum River Thames flow over the Teddington weir that is required to balance environmental, navigational and water supply needs. The TTF depends on the time of year and our reservoir storage, and is always agreed with the Environment Agency.
Saving for a rainy day – water levels in reservoirs
We store water in large, open raw water reservoirs before we pump it to our world-class treatment plants, ready for cleaning.We carefully monitor water levels in reservoirs, regularly inspecting and maintaining the infrastructure to safeguard your supply. At the end of July 2019:
- Reservoirs in London were 84% full (83% full in West London and 86% full in Lee Valley)
- Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire was 98% full
Our water resources situation
Check out our infographic to see our water resource situation at the end of July: