How much rain falls in our region?

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 region

In November, we saw above average rainfall in the Thames Region. At 104.2 mm, it was 138% of the long-term average.

On 30 November, the Thames Regional Soil Moisture Deficit (SMD) total was 0 mm, indicating that the soil is wetter than expected for this time of year.

Groundwater levels in the UK varied significantly across the Thames region; with levels in the Cotswolds above average and levels in North London below average during November.

Average rainfall in the Thames region

Check out our graph to see average rainfall in our region:

Rainfall percentages for the last 12 months in relation to long term average rainfall

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 our region

In November 2019, river flows varied across the Thames region, with above average river flows in some areas, such as the Cotswolds, and below average river flows in other areas, such as the Chilterns and North London. This means that in some areas there was more water in our rivers than expected for the time of year, and in other areas there was less.

The Teddington Target Flow (TTF) was maintained at 800 Ml/d during November. 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

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 November 2019:

  • Reservoirs in London were 92% full (93% full in West London and 88% full in Lee Valley)
  • Farmoor Reservoir in Oxfordshire was 95% full

Our water resources situation

Check out our infographic to see our water resource situation at the end of November:

Reservoir and rainfall diagram

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