River Ribble faces low levels during heatwave

Posted on - 10th July, 2018 - 11:55am | Author - | Posted in - Preston News, Preston weather, Wildlife and Conservation
The River Ribble is facing low water levels. Pic: Stephen Melling

Warm weather and increased water usage is taking its toll on the River Ribble.


Hot temperatures have been hitting the county for the past few weeks, and it’s having an affect on the river.

Water usage has increased and a short supply of rain during the recent heatwave has is causing low water levels in the river.

Read more: Man’s body recovered from the River Ribble

Running through Lancashire to North Yorkshire, the River Ribble’s lowest level recorded by the Environment Agency station at Samlesbury is 0.797m, which occurred on 22 August 1984.

Currently, the river’s level is at 0.832m.

The River Ribble is facing low water levels. Pic: Stephen Melling

The Environmental Agency is warning about the impact the low water level may have on wildlife.

A spokesperson for the Environmental Agency said: “Animals may need to travel further to find water to drink or to bathe, and the fish and other animals that live in the water are forced to occupy much smaller areas.

“Migratory fish can find it more difficult to move upstream.

“Increased water temperatures lead to a reduction in the oxygen content in the water which can cause fish to become distressed.

“Environment Agency teams are monitoring for environmental impacts, responding to incidents across the region, where required, and taking action to protect the environment.

“If people see any environmental impacts due to dry weather, such as fish in distress, or algae blooms, it is important to report it to the Environment Agency incident line on 0800 80 70 60 so we can investigate and minimise any potential impacts on the environment.”

Read more: Man talked down safely from River Ribble bridge at Preston

The Environmental Agency is also encouraging people to use water wisely.

They continued: “Water is a precious resource and it is always helpful, in terms of future supplies and protecting the environment, for everyone to follow advice on saving water from their water company and use water wisely. The average person in England uses 140 litres per day.”

The River Ribble is facing low water levels. Pic: Stephen Melling

A spokesperson for United Utilities said: “The prolonged hot weather means the region’s reservoir stores have decreased since last week, with some reservoirs looking more dramatic than others.

“The reducing reservoir levels are not surprising given the ongoing lack of rainfall and exceptionally high demand. We are managing resources carefully, and our integrated network, which we have invested heavily in, does gives us the flexibility to move water around the region, to reduce demand on those sources which are lower.

We are still encouraging our customers to voluntarily use water efficiently, by avoiding the use of water hungry devices, particularly outside in the garden. However, if demand does not reduce in the next few days we’ll have no choice but to introduce enforced restrictions.”

Read more: Scale of devastation at Winter Hill shown as fire continues

United Utilities’ top tips for saving water, energy and money include the following:

  • Only wash full loads in your washing machine or dishwasher
  • Use a bucket and sponge to wash your car, rather than a hose-pipe
  • Have a four-minute shower, instead of a bath
  • Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth
  • Install a water butt to collect rainwater for watering your garden (see our website for discounted products)
  • Water your garden early in the morning or in the evening, when it is cooler.

You can discover more about saving water on the United Utilities website.

Have you seen the low levels of the River Ribble? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below

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