Has low rainfall over the winter caused River Colne to dry out?

PUBLISHED: 19:02 28 April 2017

Waterside resident Ernie Atkinson sits in the dry river bed,  photo John Andrews.

Waterside resident Ernie Atkinson sits in the dry river bed, photo John Andrews.

Archant

Dramatically low rainfall could have contributed towards the disappearance of the iconic River Colne.

The dried-up bed of the River Colne - photo John Andrews.The dried-up bed of the River Colne - photo John Andrews.

The popular river, which runs past London Colney’s Village Green is used by thousands of families each year.

However, the river’s flow came to an abrupt halt two weeks ago, and has since dried-up completely.

Riverside resident, John Andrews, said: “We have never seen anything like this before.

“I have lived here for more than 40 years and the only other time the river has dried up was during the long hot summer of 1976.

The dried-up bed of the River Colne - photo John Andrews.The dried-up bed of the River Colne - photo John Andrews.

“However even then, it took at least eight weeks of intense heat to totally dry out.”

The river flow has subsided in the past when has been used for intensive irrigation for crops, but this is not the case this time.

“It is quite upsetting at a time when ducklings are hatching and learning how to swim and need the river to survive.”

Ernie Atkinson, who also lives next to the river, said he was shocked by the river’s disappearance: “I have never seen anything like this in my life, we are all very concerned.”

Glum: Samuel McCracken, photo by John AndrewsGlum: Samuel McCracken, photo by John Andrews

Jessica McCracken visited the River Colne on Sunday with her son Samuel, nine.

Jessica said: “We live in St Albans and we were hoping to join our friends here in London Colney to go fishing and feed the ducks.

“This is the first time we have ever seen the river like this, it’s very disappointing.”

A spokesman for local water suppliers Affinity Water said: “Since July 2016, our region has experienced below average rainfall and the River Colne, as well as many other rivers across the south east of England, has seen flows decrease.

“The low rainfall has also affected ground water sources, which is where 60 per cent of our supply comes from, so we are encouraging our customers to save water to help preserve supplies.

“To keep up to date with our latest resource position, see www.affinitywater.co.uk/resources and for tips and free water saving devices, see www.affinitywater.co.uk/savewater.”

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